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Becoming a soldier

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Becoming a soldier

Becoming a soldier

The clock was ringing so loudly, it was like he was actually screaming at me. I reached my hand and slapped it. I did not want the night to be over already. I knew that this morning would be very long and grueling, the morning that I have been waiting for in a great fear for several months. It was the morning I was drafted to the army.

In Israel, every boy and girl who reaches eighteen have to join the army. It is mandatory and it is for a minimum of three years for boys and a year and eight months for girls. During the eleventh and twelfth grade you go through several classification processes, in which the army determines where will everyone serve. The process of classification includes several tests, some of them are physical and others are in math and Hebrew. So on the day you are drafted you suppose to know where you are going to serve and what you are going to do, at least for the first few months of your service.

For me the experience of joining the army at the age of eighteen was very difficult. I felt that these are my best years but instead of taking advantage of them I am going to the army. In other countries, when a person reaches eighteen he is usually going to college and "start his life". I on the other hand, was about to do one of the most demanding mission a man can do.

I postponed my recruiting day as long as I could in order to travel and enjoy as much as I could in that time. I knew that I was going to be a fighter and give up the convenience of being home everyday, eat home made food, go out with friends, sleep in my bed. Instead I would sleep in a tent or lie on the ground on a stake out, eat bad food, and get to know new people. All that was hard for me to accept at the age of 18.

To my parents I was the third child to go into the army. My older brother, who was also a fighter, was released two years before I got drafted. And my sister, who served in the intelligence corps, was released only four months before. We all woke up that morning like we did the past two times. The morning was especially cold and everything seemed black to me. It was raining and I knew it would only make things harder. We ate breakfast together, full of good things that my mom bought just for me to cheer me up. An hour later we were at the drafting base.

"Uri Kenig", I heard my name echoing through the speakers. That was my sign to go. It was a very exciting moment and my mom could not help it and cried. I said goodbye to my family and friends and started my journey to a new passage in my life.

At first they took us to a very long trailer. It was brown and looked like it was going to collapse. The paint was coming off from the walls and the rain was coming down heavily on it. The floor was cracking when we walked on it, and it was cold.

In the first station they took our fingerprints. The army does that in case they will have to identify a corpse. My hands were dirty from the ink. We went on to the second station where they took out teeth x-rays, for the same reason. The third station, the scariest one, is the clinic. Every soldier has to get three shots and all in less than a minute. Two guys that were with me fainted, from what seemed to me was fear. The last station was the station that symbolizes the external transition from a citizen in to a soldier, and that is where we got our uniforms and equipment. They gave us three pairs of uniform and military shoes and other essential equipment like different kind of ropes, cleaning pad for ...

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