My son is now a soldier. He officially became property of the army this week. If he gets a tattoo, he can be punished for defacing army property. If he comes home and breaks his leg, he can be punished for endangering army property. I am very proud to have a son serving in the armed forced. The last member of my immediate family to serve his country was my father in the 1950s. Perhaps I'm the last of a dying breed in the US of A, but I still believe that it is ones duty to serve your country. Because of my kidney problems, I did not and will not have an opportunity to serve. My second son is also completely absolved of service because of his health issues. Because he is young, he may still be able to volunteer once he successfully receives a new kidney.
I went to Poland a few years ago on the graveyard tour. For most Israelis, Poland is one big graveyard. We started in the formal Warsaw graveyard, but each concentration camp and death camp was one more graveyard stop. One of my clearest memories is sitting in a bunk in Aushwitz. The rain was pouring outside and it was near freezing. We talked about survivors. How women who survived proudly reported the number of children, grand-children and great grand-children that they had. The men had a different approach. They reported how many of their children and grand-children served in the Israeli army. Women were concerned that they would never have children. Men were emasculated, unable to defend themselves or their family, and hence the ability of their children to serve was and is a form of atonement. We left Poland believing that Israel is response to the Holocaust. Living here and having my son serve in the army is proof that the people of Israel are not lost.
I was taught by my parents and I believe that no matter what you do, it should be to the best of your ability. I hope my son does the same in the army. May he succeed in reaching his goals and come home safe and sound.