The annual memorial ceremony for the soldiers we lost during the Yom Kippur War was held at Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem one week ago, the day after Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
I came after they had gone home, as the flags, the podium, and the posters of old war photographs were being taken down.
Egypt attacked Israeli positions in the Sinai in full force on October 6, 1973 and took us by surprise.
The Egyptian Army put down several Soviet-made floating bridges and crossed the Suez Canal.
It took several days for Israel to call up the reserves and get organized and to bring up material to enable a crossing.
Many army engineers were killed by enemy fire while constructing the pontoon bridges and roller bridges that would span the canal.
After more than 140 of our tanks had driven across into Egypt, Egyptian shells hit one of the floating bridges as more tanks were crossing on it, and dozens of our tanks and their crews fell into the water of the Suez.
In the 19 days before the ceasefire, 2,521 Israeli soldiers were killed, 293 were captured, and over 7,000 were wounded.
The losses among Egyptian and Syrian troops were several times these numbers.
The photo above shows not only the seats where the bereaved families had sat for the memorial service but also a group of IDF recruits who were not even born yet during the Yom Kippur War.
The 18-year-olds were being taken on a guided tour of the national military cemetery, being taught the history by their commander.
I always wonder how it makes them feel to see the still empty spaces.
Mt. Herzl, the cemetery, is like an open book of Israel's history, very moving.
The photo of a photo of the bridge is for Sunday Bridges over in peaceful San Francisco.