This was the most moving Yom Yerushalayim experience I’ve ever had.
In 1967, I was a volunteer in the 6 day war and I saw the kotel for the first time and it was surrounded by rubble, in 1969, I saw the Chief Rabbi reading tefillot in front of the Kotel. In 1977, I marched with hundreds of students from Mercaz Harav and entered the old city. This year, I was truly honored to stand in the presence of those soldiers who actually liberated Jerusalem.
150 people attended the ceremony honoring Jerusalem a few meters away from the grave of Shimon Hatzadik at a memorial to soldiers that fell during the fighting to reclaim Jerusalem marking both Jerusalem’s Reunification and a Memorial Day of sorts. The stories we heard from speaking to the men that were part of the liberation were amazing. One of them was the 6th soldier to reach the kotel and told of Rav Goren’s reaction. Another told of how the other Israeli soldiers didn’t believe that his group was really Israeli until the men gave their parents phone numbers in Israel.
It meant so much that Moshe Frankel, who was a communications officer at the time of the liberation came to thank me for being there to give drinks to the soldiers. How ironic, when our sole purpose of being at the event was to thank people like him. It was a special honor for Standing Together volunteers to be able to personally thank Paratroopers from chativa 55 gdud 71.