C e l e b r a t i o n   O f   T h e   L i f e

M e m o r i a l   S e r v i c e

M e m o r i a l   S e r v i c e

M e m o r i a l   S e r v i c e

April 25, 2004, Arlington National Cemetery

photo captions
Participants in the April, 2004 ceremony honoring Orde Wingate.
Personal photograph

On a Sunday afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery, Jewish American war veterans and representatives from five nations gathered to honor Orde Wingate. Sponsored by the Jewish War Veterans of the USA, the annual ceremony to honor General Wingate held at the Memorial Amphitheatre became a special tribute service. Nearly four hours of prayers, songs, speeches, and personal memories became and observation and reflection upon the memory of Orde Wingate. Sixty years after his death, his life was brought forth by the dignitaries, from war veterans to official military representatives, to ambassadors, to national community agents.

Amid the whiteness of the Memorial Amphitheatre, the impact of his life was illustrated by the individual speakers, the music, and the supporting organizations. Official representatives from the nations of the United States, Great Britain, Israel, Ethiopia and Burma spoke their words of appreciation of Wingate and his gifts over the passage of time. Three-Star General Marine Corp General Robert Magnus stated the theme, "We are not here to commemorate his death. We are here to commemorate his life."1 The British military representative, Colonel R.B. Bruce, spoke how Wingate had a revolutionary impact on how war is fought, and saluted his ability to "think outside the box."2 Speaking of these military accomplishments, General Magnus stated "Wingate left behind two main legacies. One was in innovating war-fighting skills that can be found today in special operations forces [in the world's best armies]...The other, for the generations that followed him, is enshrined in the state of Israel.3

As the afternoon passed, this military legacy and other legacies from Orde Wingate's military service came forth. Mr. Paul Bernstein,the national commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States spoke of this impact upon Israel, stating "He gave Israel the tactics to fight five Arabian nations at once."4 Both the Ethiopian ambassador and a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia gave forth words of appreciation. Crown Prince Shwebomin of Burma put his reason for being there as "It lifts my spirits because we are fighting for democracy and freedom today in Burma."5 The closing laying of the wreath was accompanied by laying of soil from Israel that was placed on the grave by some of the veterans. "He was a visionary," according to Paul Bernstein.6 Sixty years later Orde Wingate is not forgotten.

next: Back To Grave


1. Arlo Wagner, Jewish Veterans Bow To Warrior's Memory, Washington Times, April 26, 2004, Metropolitan section.
2. Jewish Vets Gather To Honor Christian Godfather of Israeli Military Doctrine, Forward, April 30, 2004.
3. Forward.
4. Wagner.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.