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The Empty Chair, Israel's Memorial Day

By Batya Medad
4/28/2009, 12:00 AM
I left a bit late to get to the ceremony at the cemetery this morning. The siren began, and I stood still. I looked around. Everyone stopped whatever they had been doing. People stepped out of their cars. Tractor drivers got down from their tractors, as you can see in the picture.
The cemetery was full of people sitting and standing during the memorial ceremony. The graves in this picture are mostly of old people who died from "natural causes."
I never like photographing my neighbors during such events. I try to be discreet.

 We've adopted the custom of reading T'hillim, Psalms, of the letters of the soldiers and terror victims' names at each grave. I stood with the parents of someone buried in a different cemetery. We found ourselves standing around an empty chair. It spooked me. An empty chair, such a simple and direct symbol of their dead son.

Hashem Yinkom Damom