April 24, 2007

59 and counting: happy birthday Israel!

In Israel, the week preceding Independence Day, Israeli flags sprout steadily, large and small — on cars, in windows, on doors, in gardens, on baby carriages, hanging from porches, and dropped from skyscrapers all the way down to first floors. A network of silent choristers chiming in, We are here!

The struggle to maintain independence — a life, a homeland, normalcy — is daily in concrete ways, and, for those for whom it is possible (for example, not serving on the fronts or not in the paralysis of grief or mourning for a loved one hurt, maimed, or killed in battle or an act of terrorism), it’s a joy to forget the existential reality for a few hours.

After yesterday's Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terror, the Israeli flag at Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl was raised from its half-mast position after sunset, marking the transition from grief to celebration as the country rang in its 59th Independence Day.

This segue in national message and mood showcases celebrants nationwide flocking to events ranging from dancing and singing to prayer services and barbecues and from teach-ins to Times-Square-like revelries streaked by kids spray-painting shaving lotion (the significance of which totally eludes me).

Whatever. Happy, happy birthday. And endless more. Never ending. Everlasting. For eternity.

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