President Reuven Rivlin speaks at the main Memorial Day ceremony at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, vowing to keep fighting to return missing captive IDF soldiers even after his term ends in several months.
“I am a son of this land. I fought in most of its wars,” Rivlin says. “I saw my friends, my contemporaries, commanders and those under my command, older than me and much younger, galloping towards the line of fire for our people, for life, for liberty. I remember each one of them.
“I remember them falling at the side of the path, embracing our land, part of it for eternity. Our sons and daughters were called to the flag and did not hesitate for a moment. Even when facing sights of great darkness, blood and fire and pillars of smoke, they did not think of themselves. They thought of us.
“Dear families, seven years ago, when the country was ablaze in Operation Protective Edge, I began my term as president, on behalf of the citizens of Israel,” he says, speaking of the 2014 Gaza War. “My first baptism of fire was visiting the families of soldiers who had fallen in action. I stood before the families and bowed my head on behalf of the Israeli people. I wanted to be with them in their pain, to say what was in my heart.
“I vowed to sanctify the memories of Israel’s heroes. I did my best to bring back the missing and captive soldiers. May they come back to us, and soon… I hope that I did right, but I surely did not do enough. Even as I come to the end of my term of office, I am not released from service. As long as I live, I will hold it in my heart and will work on your behalf.”