On a recent beautiful spring evening, nearly 100 students gathered at Kappa Sigma for a heartfelt memorial ceremony. Contrary to the off campus community, which was buzzing with music enjoying the perfect weather, this solemn ceremony was a night to honor and remember those who have lost their lives in order to protect the very freedoms that we are privileged to have today. Members of the Ohio State ROTC, US veterans, and Israeli veterans alike stood in unity to share their personal stories with other students to honor their friends, comrades, and the tens of thousands of soldiers who have lost their lives to defend their country’s’ values and freedoms.
This display of American solidarity with the State of Israel solidifies one of the most important bonds in the world today. While both countries have different challenges, we are united in the fight against terrorism.
Just a few days ago, a Hamas suicide bomber detonated himself by a bus in southern Jerusalem, injuring over 20 Israelis. This bombing is only the latest of a series of terrorist attacks that commenced in September, which have killed several Israeli and Palestinian civilians and resulted in increased tensions between the peoples.
Only a few months ago, terrorism struck our own community at the Nazareth Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, where somebody took a machete and attacked innocent patrons, simply because the owner was a proud Arab-Israeli. This is not an issue that is far away anymore, rather this is an issue hitting very close to home.
One of the US veterans that spoke, shared a powerful statement, that the war continues inside of you even after you leave the battlefield. He talked about the mourning and loss that he experienced after the war and to this day. The PTSD comes with him everywhere he goes.
As students at a university, we are privileged that many of these battles are physically far away from home. Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that these battles live on in members of our community. As global citizens seeking peace in our time, we must take time to understand these issues and heal the wounds. This memorial was a step in that direction: taking moments to remember the past and learn to pave way toward a brighter future.
Whether it’s within our own community or in the diplomatic channels between Jerusalem and Washington, the relationship between the United States and Israel is a ubiquitous phenomenon that solidifies our common goals of freedom and liberty. The fact that so many Buckeye students attended this memorial sends a message that regardless of both countries’ occasional policy disagreements; nothing stands in the way between them. In celebrating Israel Peace Week, our community was reminded that the best way to achieve a stronger relationship between these countries is to pursue peace. The same way that the United States hopes to see a peaceful resolution occur between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I hope to see a day where we no longer have to memorialize additional sacrifices in the war against terrorism here and around the globe.