Paula Stern writes in her blog "A Soldier's Mother" http://israelisoldiersmother.blogspot.com/, her experiences as a mother of a new soldier in the Israel Army. Today, we came to the end of an era as our son was discharged from the army and his 18 year committment to reserve duty.
His army service was performed at an air force base "somewhere in the north of Israel". Together with between 1000 -1500 other visitors, families and parents, we were received on the base for almost a full day of activities.
The proceedings started with food and drinks (of course why not? we haven't eaten enough over this holiday period!!). The official part of the proceedings commenced with speeches and films of the activities of the base after which we were able to wander around a display of aircraft, munitions and equipment in use on the base. One of the base commanders told us that a child's service on the base was a unique experience for that child but also involved the whole family - how right he was.
An exercise in air rescue was demonstrated followed by the scrambling and take off of two of the attack aircraft on the base. Our son spent most of his time dealing with the technical equipment in the control tower and so, for the first time in my life, I found myself in a control tower watching the minute by minute operation of the team as aircraft took off and landed.
It was a great opportunity to see at first hand what our son was actually doing during his army service. We were told of some of the technical innovations he had introduced in his service on the base so naturally as his parents, there was a sense of pride.
In the not too distant future the older grandchildren will start their service, in what field, who knows?