Firstly, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for honoring us, the orphans of the IDF and Security Forces, who are celebrating our Bar Mitzvahs with your presence on this moving occasion.
I am Sagi Dahan, the son of Lieutenant Colonel Yoram Dahan, of blessed memory, who was killed in Lebanon in 1996 during military action, while I was two years and four months old.
I have many memories, but not from my own experiences, but rather from stories told by family and friends, stories which portray his admirable character as a husband, father, friend, and commander.
I cherish the stories about kisses, hugs and tickles, and about weekends which were dedicated to Mum, Shani, and me.
During weekdays, dad served in Lebanon and insisted on getting phone updates about us. It was then that I started talking. Each word was a pearl in my father’s eyes. This was his happiness and pleasure, which is how he felt about everything we said or did.
Mom says that when Dad came home late at night and the little bunnies were already asleep, he knew just how to enter our room very quietly to pick us up gently in his arms and hold us close to him to smell us in our dreams. This would make him sigh with pleasure.
But today I look at your picture, Dad, and your green eyes are smiling at me from every angle I look. I think to myself how much I miss you in my life, how harsh real life can be and how strong the pain is. I must cope with the fear of forgetting you to persevere in your memory.
I am sure that you didn’t want to give up and surrender to that bullet, and I'm sure that you were thinking about us during the last moments of your life.
Your perfect image is with me always.
Perfection and quality characterized you. Everything you did and everything you expected from yourself, your family, and your subordinates was perfect.
You always began by demanding seriousness and then continued with humor.
I am proud to be your son. I am the son of a hero who was quick to lend a helping hand to friends in need. I hope that your heroism and behavior throughout your life, just as in your death, shall be a symbol to us all, and continue through the next generations.
Mom tries to blur the effect of separation by leading and guiding us with great love. Mum told me at my Bar Mitzvah celebration that she could be almost anything except for Dad. She wished that when I grow older, I shall be a full time dad and spend beautiful moments with my children that I have always dreamed about but couldn’t experience with you, Dad. I wish I could have you around through the good times and the bad times alongside me. Knowing that I won't have you around through the beautiful and significant moments in my life, like graduating kindergarten and elementary school, and starting junior high, is like a pinch through my heart.
So, with all the dreams and longing in a sea of love and pride and as an inseparable part of Mom, Shani and me, you will stay with us forever."