Israeli proponents of the Shalit deal argued that “we are all Gilad Shalit.” That is truer than we realize: in fact, we all owe our existence and our freedom to the ultimate sacrifice of countless others every bit as much as Gilad Shalit owes his to the awful sacrifices made on his behalf.
We are oddly fortunate in that the vast majority of sacrifices are but abstractions to us — statistics, ceremonies, or images of neat rows of crosses and Stars of David on the Normandy cliffs.
Constant awareness of the enormity of the sacrifices made on our behalf would paralyze us; we know we can never earn it. So, we cope by compartmentalizing. We go on living normally by not focusing on those sacrifices too much, yet not taking them for granted. We in the free world carve out Veterans/Armistice Days to recognize our awesome debts, and designate moments of reflection, memory and honor of those who sacrificed so we can live. And then we go back to the business of living.
Perhaps, one day, Gilad Shalit will be able to do the same. Continue reading