Man finds fallen soldier’s memorial tag at flea market

Ziv Livni, a member of the Israel Police’s bomb disposal unit, was walking through the narrow paths of the flea market in Jaffa when he noticed a velvet box for sale. In it, he found the tag and rank of Corporal David Brooks, a gunner who was killed 43 years ago in the Sinai Peninsula during the Yom Kippur War.

Livni purchased the box, determined to return memento to the soldier’s family. After many hours searching online and enlisting the aid of dozens of Israelis on Facebook, he finally made contact with a friend of the Brooks’ family, who has promised to help Livni on his mission.

In a Facebook post, Livni recounted the experience: “I felt my heart skip a beat and I told myself that I cannot leave it here like that … I found myself bargaining with the vendor, who agreed to sell it to me for a reasonable price. I took it …photographed it… and I no longer felt like wandering around the market that morning. I was holding the blue box with the tag and rank of his unit and the certificate of memorial that was given to his family more than 40 years ago and my mind felt like it would explode into a thousand pieces.”

When Livni returned home, he found information about Brooks on the Ministry of Defense’s memorial website, Yizkor, which said he was “a handsome 22-year-old who left his home in Florentin on Yom Kippur in 1973.”

Facebook users quickly came to Livni’s aid and dozens tried to help him locate Brooks’ family. According to Yizkor, Brooks left behind a son, wife, mother, brother, and sister.

“I admit that I really did not expect all these messages, and it’s touching and heartwarming to find all these people who care,” Livni wrote.

During the weekend, a friend of the Brooks family contacted him. He informed Livni that Brooks’ mother passed away two years ago and that her apartment was cleared out of its belongings by a third party, which is how the box made its way to the flea market. The family friend told Livni that the Brooks family would love to get the box back.

“This was the craziest weekend of my life,” Livni confessed.