Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bridging the Suez Canal

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 did not have the heart to come and sit among the families of the fallen.
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.
It was a horrible war with too many mistakes and way too many casualties.
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.


GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

War is such a horrible event that affects not only the past, but future generations. I always think about all of the cousins grandchildren that won't be born. Sad.

Evidence of the war remains in Sinai where upturned Israeli tanks have been left to rust and remind.

Again, thanks for the photo journalism. You are diligent in the sharing of history, culture, and religion.

Francisca said...

War seems to me to be such a waste. It's rare , if ever, that one side has truth and justice on their side. We humans are our own worst enemy. Thanks for history, Dina... and a photo of the bridge counts.

Kate said...

A floating bridge...amazing.

Gattina said...

Wars are such a terrible thing for whatever country is involved. All these poor soldiers who have to fight and die only for the politicians. If they had to fight themselves in a ring, I think there wouldn't be wars anymore.

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

A very pretty first photo for such a sad time. It brings to mind the quote, "Most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars, and when the wars were over, no one ever knew what they were about"

Sarah said...

Sad story...Seems Such tragedies don t want to be stoped...

Coffeeveggie addict. said...

i just always wish i won't experience the war my parents had been throught when they were still's very scary to me to think of it....nice photos though....
visit my sunday bridges

Kay said...

People need to be reminded over and over of the horrors of war so that they might work toward peace.

I am wishing you all peace, Dina.

VP said...

This was the first war I remember quite well and the closest moment the world was near a nuclear war. If I remember well this was avoided on the Golan Heights by the crew of a lone tank.
I can't agree with any of the above comments. People seems to think that peace is only a question of goodwill, ignoring centuries of history and everyday news.

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» likes to read military history, so he appreciates this unique contribution to Sunday Bridges. In any case, he thinks this is the first time anyone has contributed a floating bridge, so this is a unique post in several ways.

Lesley said...

Thank you for the reminder of the horror so many people suffered through. May we never forget.

Hilda said...

Between this and your newer post, so many lives lost! Israel has such a sad and painful history. And present. When will it all end?