Tribute to fallen soldiers turns 10
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Soon we'll be a songSoon we'll be a song

Tribute to fallen soldiers turns 10

Army Radio project for Memorial Day has top artists performing songs with lyrics written by war and terror fatalities

A soldier, standing near an Iron Dome battery in Ashkelon, observes a two-minute silence commemorating fallen soldiers and victims of terror during Memorial Day in 2011 (photo credit: Edi Israel/Flash90)
A soldier, standing near an Iron Dome battery in Ashkelon, observes a two-minute silence commemorating fallen soldiers and victims of terror during Memorial Day in 2011 (photo credit: Edi Israel/Flash90)

Army Radio’s “Soon we’ll be a song” (Od Me’at Nahafoch Le’Shir) project — in which Israeli musicians compose songs with lyrics written by soldiers and civilians who lost their lives during wars and terror attacks — marks its 10th anniversary this year.

On Wednesday, as on every Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron) for Israel’s fallen soldiers, Army Radio will broadcast many of the songs, and this year also sees the release of a CD collection of the music. The entire project is a volunteer exercise, with proceeds devoted to preserving the memories of the fallen.

The artists themselves choose the poems, or lyrics, written by those who fell — and work with their families to produce a song that reflects the soldier’s life and spirit. Some of the songs have reached mainstream success and are played on the radio all year — a lasting tribute to those who have fallen. Among them:

“Itay’s Love” (Ahuvat Itay)

Berry Sakharof, the iconic Israeli rock figure, composed, produced and performed the song. The words are by Itay Steinberger, who died in August 2007, during the Second Lebanon War.

Lyrics: “A young man with dreads, full of happiness… We roamed around all night, danced to the surreal music…. We ran along the sand, near the white fire.”

“Send him” (Shalhi Oto)

The words are by Benyamin Frankel, who died during his army service in 1974. It is performed by Roni Dalumi, a winner of “A star is born,” the music reality show.

Lyrics: “Send him, let him go free… Because you know your love won’t return to you. Send him, let him go, leave me in the wind.”

Mom, Dad, and everyone else” (Ima, Aba, v’kol hashe’ar)

Composed by Idan Raichel, the lyrics are by Reuven Politi, a sergeant who fell in the Yom Kippur War in October 1973. The vocals are by Idan Haviv.

Chorus:  “The land is gray and the horizon black. When the night is cold and the sun is fast, you’ll know mother, father, and all the rest… We’re not heroes, because our kingdom is black… Yes, mother, it’s important [suspect] and it’s true, it’s hard and it’s awful.”

I love you strongly (Ohev otach hazak)

Nadav Harari, who also died during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, wrote the lyrics. Folk and rock musician Gidi Gov performs the song, composed by Greek-Israeli singer/songwriter Yehuda Poliker.

Chorus: “I love you strongly, even when you’re tired; I love you strongly even when down; I love you strongly, even when you’re mad; I love you strongly, also when you’re hurt.”

Dead Space (L’Shetah Met)

The words are by Matti Katz, who fell in in a battle near the Syrian border in 1964, at age 19. The song is composed by Shachar Ben-Tzor and performed by Monica Sex.

Chorus: “Injured and quiet, I remembered about dead spaces. Injured and quiet, I remembered about dead spaces.”

Selections from “Soon we’ll become a song” are broadcast on Army Radio at 2 p.m., and on Channel 2 at 6 p.m., on Wednesday, Memorial Day.

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