Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who sacrificed their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Memorial Day has come to be associated with the beginning of summer. It is not however just an opportunity for a barbecue or beach trip but rather a day to honor American soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
During my Junior year of college I spent a semester abroad in Tel Aviv, Israel. While studying abroad I received a unique experience in a country both culturally and spiritually. My stay in Israel overlapped with several holidays observed there, Memorial Day and Independence Day. I returned to the United States with a new respect for our observance of Memorial Day.
In Israel, the government established a Memorial Day for those who lost their lives in the struggle that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and for all military personnel who were killed while in active duty in Israel’s armed forces. It is a national day of public mourning and quite solemn. The following day Independence Day is observed. This is a day of enthusiastic celebration just as we have our Independence day on July 4th. The back to back adherence of these two days is quite unique and contrasting.
I am reminded as Memorial Day approaches how important it is to take a minute to reflect on all those who have bravely given their lives to defend our freedom and safety. Not only does this day remind me of how fortunate we are to have our freedom, it will always bring back my memories of the somber observance of Memorial Day in another country.
The holiday weekend for many is a kick off time of summer. Let’s not forget the true reason the holiday exists. So this year as you enjoy a day off, begin the barbecue season, go to the beach, shopping or amusement park, take a moment to reflect on all who have given their lives for our country to maintain the freedom we are so fortunate to enjoy.
Israeli salad became staple of mine while living in Israel. Below is a recipe I have come to rely on and continues to bring back memories of an amazing cultural and cultural since returning and helps bring back memories of an amazing cultural and culinary experience.
Israeli salad is a chopped salad of finely diced tomato, onion, cucumber and bell peppers.
- 3 medium or 6 small Israeli cucumbers, chopped small
- 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped small
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon (2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice)
- Finely chop the cucumbers tomatoes and onions and combine in a bowl
- Add juice of lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
- Mix together all ingredients and enjoy!