“Eh, my children,” he says. “In youth I gave no thought to the proverb ‘If you do not die, you just grow old.’ I never thought that I would become an old man. And today you see for yourself what I’ve become. I avoided death so many times, but I couldn't avoid age. Every day it makes me weaker. It appears, that the sages speak the truth, ‘young and old are alike.’ Though I can speak, think, give some advice, my strength is insufficient to do much else. I would not be so weak now, if not for the wounds I received during the war. And the older you become, the more these wounds ache.
Today I live not for myself, but for my grandchildren. How they dear to us! You love them more than your own children. When they come to see me, I forget about my ailments. I ask only one thing from Allah: that He never allows the present and future generations experience the life we had to…”
Izhayev' family lived in the village of Kjart-Dzhurt. Ismail’s father, Matay, and his wife raised 5 sons and 5 daughters. Haji-Osman was the oldest son. He wasn’t taken to the frontlines, because of his age. Like other Karachay people, he worked at the home front and made his contribution to our victory.
Ismail was the first of the boys who went off to war, followed by Iskhak and Haji-Moussa. Haji-Moussa didn't return from the war; in one of the battles, a fascist bullet cut his life short. Ibrahim, Iskhak, and Ismail came back alive from the front.
Military roads of Ismail were hard. He went off to the front a mature adult. In February, 1942 when he was taken to the army, Ismail had already turned 30. Being 30 years, the man is rather courageous, resolute, and brave. He doesn't know what the fear is. Ismail was the young man of an average constitution, strong, energetic and agile. He quickly became an example for his fellow soldiers.
“I was sent to the front from Kislovodsk,” says Ismail, “I got to the 66th Guard Division of the 145th Shooting Regiment. Fights near Smolensk and especially near Moscow linger in my mind to this day.