The stuff that legends are made from…
In a time that seems very dark it is important to see examples of strength and courage.
In a time when it seems that there are no honorable leaders it is important to see examples of people who are – leaders and honorable.
I hear Americans despair: “There is no one. They are all liars. No one really cares.”
An age is called dark, not because the light refuses to shine but because people refuse to see. They exist. They are real.
They are in Israel.
Ziv Shilon is the stuff legends are made from. His story became highly dramatic in October 2012…
It was 2 am and pitch-black when he crawled to where it was. The 24 year old Captain didn’t take anyone with him because he was afraid someone would get hurt. Not even a sniffer dog.
He had a feeling that he might get hurt but knew that someone had to dismantle the bomb. Or at least try.
The bomb exploded ripping off one of his hands, mangling the other.
Afraid of being taken hostage by the terrorists, the Captain picked himself off the ground and ran back to where his soldiers were waiting.
Horrified at the sight of his beloved Captain running towards him pouring blood, the medic was frozen to the spot. The Captain screamed at him: “Get a hold of yourself! Bandage my hands and get me to a hospital quick or I will die!”
On the way to the hospital the Captain had someone help him call his sister. He told her to come to the hospital, that he had lost his hands. He did not want to call his mother because she had been battling cancer and he didn’t want to worry her.
At the hospital the doctors struggled to save his hand, what remained. All they could do for the other was make a clean cut and sew up the stump of where his hand once been.
When the Captain was being moved to the hospital room he knew there would be lots of people around including media. He asked to be covered in the flag of the country he loves. He wanted to send a message, particularly to his soldiers. He would be strong and heal and they would continue to protect the country.
The Captain saluted the General who came to see him in the hospital. He was in so much pain he could barely lift his arm but he saluted none the less.
When the Prime Minister came to visit him the Captain thanked him. Humbled the Prime Minister could only answer: “You are thanking me? I came here to thank you! The nation salutes you.”
The Captain’s mother kissed the Prime Minister and told him: “I would make a meal for you if I could.” He told her: “If you are inviting me I will come, with the Mayor of your town. But after that, when your son is better I will invite you to my house.”
There is more to this story but I am sure that in the reading many would not believe it. It sounds like some kitsch American movie doesn’t it?
Honor, love of country, duty, and true compassion… the head of state showing genuine humility to a not very important individual because of the qualities he embodies… Such dramatic scenes could only happen in Hollywood. And in such a movie the screenwriter would be chastised. People would say it’s melodramatic, not believable.
But it’s not a movie. It’s our reality.
See the video of Prime Minister Netanyahu visiting Capitan Shilon. Note his attitude towards Ziv and his family:
People like Capitan Ziv Shilon are the backbone of the State of Israel. Ziv is “just” another Israeli guy. Anywhere else he would be a legend.
Since his injury Ziv married the love of his life, competed in a marathon and had a beautiful baby girl. He gives lectures, teaching others that anything is possible. The power of the will is always stronger than the power of the body.
Ziv’s wife Adi is no less a hero than he is. She loved Ziv before he was injured and their bond has grown stronger since. Hers is the heroism of love, endurance, patience and so much more. Love makes you strong. She is proof of that.
When I need strength I look to people like Ziv and Adi Shilon. My challenges pale in comparison!
Theirs is not a Hollywood story. These extraordinary people are ordinary Israelis.
These are the people that walk among us.