Army Radio: The Songs of Fallen Soldiers
Every Yom Hazikaron in Israel—the day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror—the radio and television stations broadcast the names and images of Israel’s lost sons and daughters.
HOW IT BEGAN
More than a decade ago, Galei Tzahal (גלי צה”ל, “Army Radio”) began a project in which major Israeli artists compose songs with lyrics written by the fallen soldiers and victims of terror. The songs reflect the soldier’s life and spirit, and are played throughout the year in their memory. Below are some of these songs from Army Radio.
WITHOUT SAYING A WORD
B’li Lomar Milah (בלי לומר מילה)
by Shalom Chanoch
A soldier returns for a short visit to spend precious time with his girlfriend. Meanwhile, the war rages on and he must return, which he does “without saying a word.”
by Eviatar Banai
A young man asks his father to tell him he loves him and that he is doing everything he’s supposed to do. He needs his father to say these things one more time, before the father heads back to Miluim (מילואים, “army reserves”).
Shilchi Oto (שלחי אותו)
by Roni Dalumi
This song is based on words by Benyamin Frankel, a soldier who fell in the line of duty in 1974.
Letting a loved one (a soldier) do whatever his heart desires because life is short and he may not return.
THE SONG YOU SING AFTER THE WAR
Shir Shel Achrei Milchamah (שיר של אחרי מלחמה)
by Arik Einstein
The ageless story of soldiers returning from war and the loved ones waiting for them. The song has been sung before – it is the song of hope. When the soldier returns to the arms of a loved one, that means the war is over.
SPRING IS SO BRIEF HERE
Katzar Poh Kol Kach Haviv (קצר פה כל כך האביב)
Lyrics by David Grossman, Music by Yehuda Poliker
Comparing the short burst of springtime to the loss of a young soldier, as seen through the eyes of a parent.
1. For whom (or what) do you feel responsible?
2. If you could talk to someone only one more time, what would you want to know?
3. What are the tangible and intangible things you carry through high times and low times?
TO CRY FOR YOU
Livkot Lecha (לבכות לך)
by Aviv Geffen
Geffen wrote this well-known song in 1991 after his close friend died in a car accident. Later in 1995, Geffen sang the song in a memorial to assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
1. How did you feel listening to this song?
2. What do you think Aviv Geffen was trying to express?
3. “And like the tide / we crash, we collide.” Explore the image of the tide: how do tides behave? What do they symbolize? How does this fit with the feelings and mindset of Yom Hazikaron?