How different is this Memorial Day from all other days?

As Israel prepares for this year's Rememberance Day, Col (res) Tal Braun, writes about rememberance in days of social distancing and "Zoom."

Tags: Memorial Day
Col (res) Tal Braun ,

Memorial Day
Memorial Day
Yossi Zamir / Flash 90

These lines were written during Holocaust Remembrance Day, the same day when I lost my friend, the paratrooper's officer Maj. Asaf Asulin who was killed in action during Operation "Defensive Shield".

Since that day, 18 years ago, the family members, friends and 'brothers in arms', gather around Asaf's grave in the military cemetery, for a moving, impressive and meaningful memorial ceremony.

This year the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) forced a different behavior, a different approach and a tailored kind of ceremony. For the first time the entire memorial ceremony was carried out using the "Zoom" application.

At the appointed time, we were put together and our faces appeared one by one, on the small screen of the computer or cell phone, at home or in the workplace. Faces of people from all over Israel, who are more or less familiar one to the other, with whom we were used to meet face to face without any screens or 'electrons' buffering between us, in these circumstances.

The ceremony, which Asaf's younger brother organized and led, together with the rest of the family, was conducted appropriately and respectfully. Not missing a single part from the prayers, the words of the family, former commanders and friends.

Moreover, video clips and text of few speeches were embedded in the 'Zoom ceremony', in synchronization to the things that were said by some of the speakers. While the physical touch was lacking, like the warm embrace with the family, the handshake and the pat on the back from old friends, who once a year gather in order to remember Asaf and remind of things we used to do or say together, it was the best ceremony to be held under the circumstances and the corona restrictions.

However, this is the present need and necessity to maintain the health of friends, relatives and parents young in age or adults young in spirit, so that we can all meet again next year when we all get over the "Corona," stronger and more united than ever.