I have no idea how many songs there are in Hebrew about war, peace, and hope? Maybe hundreds, perhaps thousands.
Songs that speak of the horrors of war, the heroics of individuals, the longing for peace, keeping hope alive, the road of broken promises. Songs that move you to tears, that force to remember what sometimes you wish to forget. Songs that focus your mind on the tragedy of war, its destruction of a better future.
For me, there is only one song that speaks of war, of peace of hope and shattered dreams. In Hebrew its simply called “Horef ‘73” (Winter ’73). The words tell of the broken dreams and promised not kept. The original version was sung by the children of the ’73. Children born in 1973/1974 who were promised so much and received so little. (To place this period in Israel’s history, the Yom Kippur War took place in October 1973. A devastating war that shook the very fabric of Israeli society. A war that saw more than 6,000 fatalities and thousands wounded, myself included.)
At the time of the Yom Kippur War was a regular soldier serving in an artillery brigade. I was wounded in late October ’73, nothing heroic. (I was wounded again in March 1994 while on army reserve duty, again nothing heroic.)
Radios, TVs, laptops, and more, all have on/off, stop/start buttons, I don’t have to listen to this song or any of the other songs that are played throughout the year, yet I do. Songs that are given extra prominence at this time of year: Israel Army Memorial Day followed, 24 hours later, by Israel Independence Day.
And as always, I ask myself, what did I do to ensure another generation does not have to don a uniform, pick-up a gun, stand a post. The answer, to quote Bob Dylan “is blowing in the wind”.
We, the soldiers of “73, are today grandparents. We have seen our children go off the army, and, despite all the speech-making, we are now seeing our grandchildren taking those same steps, cast into a sea of broken promises.
When will this madness end? Is this some everlasting treadmill, a roundabout with no end? Are the children and grandchildren of today's soldiers destined to carry-on this perpetual cycle?
When will the promises of the Winter of ‘73 be fulfilled?