As I walked through the streets of Jerusalem it was hard not to wonder what had happened beneath my very own two feet over two thousand years ago. On March 28, 2007, it was history that had happened beneath my feet just three years before that truly touched me.
Of all the places in the world that I’ve traveled, I have seen bus stops and thought nothing of them. Not this bus stop. As my mom, dad and I were walking past this bus stop, we were all brought to a bone-chilling stop. Next to the bus stop was a large marble slab with a Hebrew inscription and white stones on top of it. My heart dropped. It was dead silent. It was as if the entire world had shut down for one moment while my family glanced at this plaque. I translated the first three words on the plaque to my parents. It read “Poe smonah neshamot.” Translated as, “Here eight souls.” I couldn’t read any further. I knew what had happened. My eyes watered and it became hard to swallow.
There were eight names and a date: 2.22.04.
These men, women and children were going to school and work when a Palestinian man decided to take his own life and eight others on that bus that day.
I saw the explosion as if it were that brisk February morning. I heard the screams, the ambulances, the cries of every family member who had lost a loved one. Chills ran through my spine. Eight families, eight sets of friends, mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons. All lost someone that day.
I believe that even after a great tragedy, life does go on. With healing comes rebuilding. The fact is, no one can hold us down. When I use the word “us,” I refer to myself and my family. Although we were not there to experience the actual happenings, we knew of the tears and the pain. We had to hear the bomb sirens on the phone line while we spoke to our family. On that day we saw Israelis boarding the public busses at that very bus stop. One might ask why, but the reason is simple. If the Israelis didn’t rebuild that bus stop and the dozens of other bombing sights, it would be just like letting the killers win. By rebuilding that very bus stop, Israel stays strong.
There is no point to life if it is lived in fear. This is the life style Israeli people live. When I am in Israel fear does not contain me as some may think. Instead it is sorrow how someone would take so many innocent lives in such a beautiful place. All in the name of hatred.
I will forever hold this tragedy dear to my heart.
The eight souls who lost their lives, just by living their lives.
I believe in life. Life without fear, life with happiness.
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