President and IAF Commander in Romania

Israeli President Shimon Perez and IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Ido Nechushtan attended a ceremony honoring the soldiers who fell in the helicopter crash in Romania

Date: 13/08/2010, 5:05 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

A special memorial ceremony was held on Thursday (Aug. 12) honoring the soldiers who perished in the Yasur CH-53 helicopter crash in Romania. The Israeli President attended the ceremony along with an IDF (Zahal) delegation led by the Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Maj. Gen. Ido Nechushtan. President Shimon Peres’ official visit was the first by an Israeli president to Romania, as the guest of Romanian President Traian Basco.

The emotional ceremony which took place in the central synagogue of Bucharest was attended by representatives of the Romanian Jewish community and Romanian public figures. The President Peres said, “This is what history looks like. No person would be protected if it were not for people like those in the air force. The people who serve in our air force are exceptional people who love their country, serve peace, and are willing to risk their lives for peace.”

The President continued to say, “the personalities of air force personnel do not fall from their heroism, and so too at this time I can see on the one hand the heavy sorrow and on the other hand the majestic nature of humanity.” The president added, “History is an irregular mixture of sacrifices and achievements, grief and hope. The battle has yet to end, and as long as there are heroes, there will be people plotting against peace. Even today there is a common danger to everyone, the danger of large scale terrorism, with terrorists who, if they receive nuclear weapons, the entire world will find itself under a dreadful threat. We cannot enable our world to enter the insanities of these systems.”

“Romania opened her skies to us.”

Maj. Gen. Nechushtan said that “Israel’s airway routes are limited, and we are happy that other nations are opening their skies to us. Romania opened her skies to us, we are happy to train here. Over the years our partnership with Romania has developed into a friendship. I want to thank he Romanian air force and army for their assistance after the tragedy that occurred, and to assure them that our cooperation and partnership will continue.”

Hermina Darganah, the widow of Romanian Air Force Captain Stephen Claudius Darganah who perished in the helicopter crash attended the memorial service in the synagogue. Upon his arrival to the auditorium, President Peres embraced her warmly and while speaking, he addressed her personally, saying, “We share the same feelings. You are just as dear to us as any Israeli friend who lost her loved one. We will all pray that the fallen soldiers will be at peace, that their memories will be for a blessing, and that there will be a better future for us all.” An especially emotional moment occurred when seven pilots and air force personnel came onto the stage one after the other, stood next to the president and the IAF commander, and lit candles in memory of the six Israeli soldiers and the Romanian soldier who fell during their common mission.