The most eerie part of living in Israel is knowing that every square foot of this land is drenched in blood. Everywhere you look there are reminders of this. On one of the main roads to the university, there is a monument to 17 people who lost their lives in a suicide bombing during the Second Intifada. Occasionally, one finds plaques and signs memorializing soldiers who died in combat. These reminders are everywhere, one need only recognize them.
Perhaps the most acute reminder of the human cost of war is Israel’s Independence Day (Yom HaZikaron). This year it was on May 9. Yom HaZikaron is the one day a year that the entire country stops for at least a few moments in remembrance of soldiers who sacrificed their lives. Every year on this day at a certain time the air raid siren is sounded everywhere in the country. This is the signal for everyone to pause what they are doing in honor of the dead.
If you have never heard one before, an air raid siren is the most unearthly sound I have ever heard. When one hears that siren, one knows that it means one of two things: death or destruction. I guess it is fitting then to use the siren to memorialize the toll of independence.