Art Spiegelman called his above rendition, "In The Shadow of No Towers." The shadow still lingers. And it inspires. Yesterday's Forward published remembrances of Jewish servicemen killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Of the 6,565 soldiers killed in these wars, 50 were Jews. Below is the paper's editorial:
In mid-August, 127 Americans flew to Israel with the intention of joining the Israel Defense Forces. They arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport to a boisterous and well-organized welcome, complete with a live band, balloon hats, and a speech delivered personally by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photos of would-be soldiers joyously dancing in the airport arrival hall circulated on the Internet, while many of their parents posted proud but anxious messages on Facebook. “You’ve decided to defend the Jewish future,” Netanyahu told them. About a month before this well-reported scene — on July 21, to be exact — Michael Brodsky died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device. He was 33 years old. He died as a member of the United States Navy, and as a Jew. When he and his brother enlisted right after the September 11 terrorists attacks, they got matching tattoos of the Star of David. And when Michael was deployed, his father told the Forward, he carried an Israeli flag with him. As a Jewish community, we rightly celebrate the commitment and passion of the young Americans determined to contribute to the defense of Israel. But do we pay as much attention to the many more American Jews who have served in the deadly theatres of war in Iraq and Afghanistan for nearly 11 years? In February 2011, the Forward published profiles of the 37 Jewish servicemen and women who had died in the two wars over the previous decade. By last Veterans Day, two more names had been added to the list. Now, that sorrowful tally has grown to 50 — a number that includes fresh losses such as Brodsky and the names of others whose Jewish identity has only recently surfaced.And here is the paper's story about Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Brodsky.
On September 11, 2001, when Michael Brodsky found out about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, he and his younger brother, Corey Brodsky, went down to the recruitment office and enlisted in the Navy. The same day, the two brothers got matching tattoos of the Star of David with the Hebrew word for “brotherhood” in the middle. Steven Brodsky remembers his son as a “goofball” who was always teasing his mother and younger brother. Growing up in Tamarac, Fla., Brodsky was a Cub Scout and later a Boy Scout; a dedicated and athletic student, he also wrestled in high school. Brodksy came from a patriotic family and became a dog handler in the Navy. Planning to make a career out of the military, Brodsky repeatedly took tests for a promotion. On the day that he died, his father said, the promotion finally came through. Steven Brodsky, an ex-military man himself, proudly recounted his son’s 11 medals.The 50 remembrances can be found here. Two of these stories can be viewed on the following video.
Michael Brodsky loved his 9-year-old daughter, Natalia, who had fought and beaten cancer when she was younger. “He talked to his mother every day on Skype, and he was my best friend. He was a good person,” Steven Brodsky said. Brodsky carried an Israeli flag with him when he was deployed, his father told the Forward. “He was a dedicated soul; he loved what he did, and no one could have talked him out of it.” Michael Brodsky died July 21, 2012 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device. He was 33 years old.
These stories are worth remembering on this day as well.