(This is a guest post from 10-year-old Samuel Knoll, a 5th grader at Fairburn Elementary School in Los Angeles. Approximately 25 veterans attended Adat Shalom’s Veterans Day Shabbat service, mostly from WWII with a couple from Korea and a couple from Vietnam.)
Last Friday was the coolest date of the year: 11-11-11. All those ones and it will not happen again for a hundred years. And at my temple, we did something special that will make me remember this date for a long time.
Our synagogue commemorated Veterans Day at a Shabbat service by honoring past and present men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces. We remembered the people who served in all the wars that our country has fought.
We had special visitors from the Jewish War Veterans and we got to meet some brave men who had served when they were younger. We got to hear from some of them and they told us their stories. The stories were about times that they remembered many years ago and most were about how lucky they were to have survived.
The service was unusual for me because we do not often get to hear the stories of veterans and wars from long before I was born. Their stories were like nothing that I have ever experienced.
I was amazed by how these men were willing to risk their lives for the others who lived in the United States. Looking at them, it was actually hard to picture what it was like for them to be prisoners, to have little to eat and to be so far from their homes.
They all looked like the other members of my temple but they had something very special about their past and I was grateful for them.
That night my grandpa was also there and I knew he was a war veteran too. Having heard some of his experiences and getting to hear the stories of the others that night made me think that I met some real heroes.
Not the superheroes that I see on TV but some real heroes that have made a difference for my country and the way all of us get to live.
(Editor’s Note: While only male veterans attended this Shabbat service, there are Jewish female veterans, especially from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.)