Coming from the United States where we Jews do not generally put flowers on graves, the simple red carnations which were given out to all who visited the cemetery surprised me.
What was I to do with it?
At the gate of Har Herzl, I took the flower in my sweaty, wilted hand. I walked with the crowds, some laughing some weeping.
After some time, the stem broke in half and still I carried it until I placed it at the monument for a young man of 24 who had given flowers to his girlfriend the Shabbat before he died.
I caressed the monument, now warmed by the sun.
My red carnation joined others, a surprising remnant of love and loss.