As the Siren Sounds

I walk into a room at work with the intent of finding out the progress of a project from one of my developers. I barely have the words out of my mouth when everyone in the room stands and closes their eyes.

In the distance, the siren winds up.

The siren blares.

It keeps going, loud and clear. 10 seconds...20...30...

60 seconds later the siren winds down.

The siren ends.

I wipe my eyes.

The conversation continues.


When I moved to Israel last summer, I was very quickly introduced to the sirens. I was in the parking lot at the grocery store. I didn't know what I was hearing. Someone shouted at me to run for cover. It was followed by a distant explosion. Over the course of the next month I was treated to many more such experiences...

At home in the middle of the day, we'd scoop the kids up and head to the stairwell to wait for the last explosion.

In the park, we threw the kids into the stroller and ran for the nearest building, seeking cover with other trembling parents and other scared and crying children.

In the middle of the night, we woke the kids up and again ran to the stairwell, hoping the kids would go back to sleep nicely once the coast was clear.

So now, even though I was totally prepared for the coming siren, it still caught me off guard. This was the first time I just stood and listened. Today the siren was sounded to remember the victims of the Holocaust. Right now there is a survivor speaking to my coworkers about his experiences. The reason I cried was not out of sadness. While the siren was blaring I found myself smiling. I was thinking about how lucky I am to live in a country that is so vibrant, thriving, successful; a country which is so small and yet is recognized as a global leader in innovation, technology, ethics, military. Israel is tiny. Her population is a drop in the bucket compared to so many other countries. And yet she is so large. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, "speak softly, and carry a big stick." Well, I can't honestly say I've ever heard an Israeli speak softly, but Israel carries a big stick.

Next week is Israeli Independence Day. So much has happened in the last 67 years and it is amazing to look back and see how far this country has come. Today, we remember those who fell at the hands of Hitler and the Nazi's, but next week we will celebrate those men, women and children who escaped his evil, came to Israel, and laid the foundation for the country I live in today. As the song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang goes, "Up from the ashes grow the roses of success." This is quite literal. From the ashes of Nazi Europe, to the successful and thriving country we have today.

For now, the sound of the siren still reminds us of fear. I hope to be blessed enough to see a day when our enemies tremble at the sound of the sirens, as we walk in peace and harmony.

Never forget.

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