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Shall never forget your sacrifice
Great nations never forget to honour their fallen soldiers and this solidarity makes them great

‘Albert Einstein said ‘Not until we dare to regard ourselves as a nation, not until we respect ourselves, can we gain the esteem of others, or rather only then will it come of its own accord.’ So what makes a nation great? Is it physical size or the economic and military might? May be neither. Had it been so, USSR wouldn’t have collapsed, nor would France, UK and Germany have lost their prominence with time. Contrast this with one of the tiniest nations of the world which is smaller then even Haiti and Taiwan. Yet this nation of six million, amidst all odds has stood the test of time. She faced five major wars since birth and asserted her right to exist. Few countries are today as much admired and dreaded than Israel. Incidentally this nation is also economically advanced and is known for its high end technologies while having one of the highest per capita incomes ($26,200 in PPP in 2006). But unlike others, Israel has not led the sands of time to drape its horrible past into oblivion. Every year on the days of Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron, Israel pay tribute to the victims of holocaust and the soldiers who have died for the nation of Israel. With the sound of the siren, the entire nation comes to a standstill. Every Israeli would stand wherever he or she is and every vehicle on the road would equally be made motionless. Come what may, Israel never let anything get precedence to this moment of paying homage. To the naysayers these might seem hollow gestures but probably it is because of this solidarity that no one dares to play around with this nation of a few millions. It’s as if for each there’s six million to fight. And no one’s sacrifice go unnoticed as every fallen soldier’s name in every passing year is added to the list. Unlike in India perhaps, for, while we celebrate every non descript event, the noise of the cacophony subsides the last cry of every dying soldier, resonating perhaps what’s written on the Kohima memorial, ‘When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.’ The Israelis remind this to themselves every year. We in India don’t. And that’s why India is no Israel and would never be for ages to come.

Pathikrit Payne

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