JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - Yosef Trumpeldor (November 21, 1880 – March 1, 1920) was born in Piatygorsk, Russia, and volunteered to join the military in 1902.
In a battle during the siege of Port Arthur in the Russo – Japanese war, Trumpeldor lost his left arm from shrapnel wounds, but returned to service after 100 days in hospital.
After having been taken prisoner by the Japanese after the seige, he befriended several other Jews who were also interested in the idea of establishing a communual farm in then Palestine.
After his return from captivity, he was awarded four decorations for bravery, making him the highest-decorated Jewish soldier in Russia.
In 1912 he made Aliyah and lived temporarily at Kibbutz Deganyah.
With the outbreak of World War I, the Ottoman authorities expelled him as an enemy alien, and he saw action with the Allies in the war.
He founded the Zion Mule Corps in 1915, considered to be the first all-Jewish fighting unit in two millenia.
Later he fought in Gallipoli, where he was shot in the shoulder. He returned to Russia, where he founded the Hehalutz youth organization which aided olim prepare for life in the Holyland.
On March 1, 1920, Trumpeldor and seven colleagues died defending the northern Galilee Panhandle settlement of Tel Hai against a band of hundreds of marauding Arabs from Lebanon.
After his death, Trumpeldor became a national hero, and the nearby city of Kiryat Shmoneh (Town of Eight) was named in memory of him and his cohorts.
His dying words, “Never mind, it is good to die for one's country,” became a symbol of Zionist self-defense in the modern era.