CHICAGO (WLS) -- A young man on a break before college left Chicago and found himself in the middle of the Hamas attack on Nova Music Festival attendees in Israel on October 7, 2023.
His parents, who live in the western suburbs, are now sharing memories of their son, who was inspired by the architecture of Chicago and loved music and soccer, as well as their hopes for other families still waiting for word about their loved ones who are either missing or being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.
Julia and Igor Shindel were looking forward to seeing their 23-year-old son's plans come to fruition at college.
"I said to him 'Good luck and see you next summer,'" Julia Shindel said.
Mark was to start college in Israel, studying construction engineering. He left Chicago on October 3 after visiting his parents, who had moved from Israel to the western suburbs a couple years ago.
Four days later he was with friends, trying to escape Hamas' attack.
Video from a friend shows Mark and his friend hiding behind trees, with gunfire nearby. Mark can be seen wearing a black t-shirt. ABC7 blurred the faces of the other people in the video, as it's unclear who survived and who did not.
Eventually, his parents believe, they tried to run to an Israeli military base.
"In the middle of running he shouted 'Be careful, terrorists!' and because he shouted, the terrorists saw him," his father Igor said. "My mark didn't succeed and run away."
"Every day we are thinking about him," Julia said.
"Every morning we are waking up, trying to find a reason for life, trying to find the reason why to live," said Igor.
"It was really terrible because Mark was here," his mother said. "Four days. Four days."
ABC7 spoke to the Shindels at the Israeli Consulate in Chicago, in a room where the more than 100 Israeli hostages are remembered. They said they wanted to tell Mark's story to honor his life, and to raise awareness of families waiting for their loved ones to be returned for more than 100 days.
"I know where my son is," Julia said. "It's a terrible situation, but they don't know."
"I just hope all hostages will be released alive and this war should stop after that," said Igor.
Israel's consul general shared the Shindels' sentiments in calling for the immediate release of the hostages.
As a symbol of their son's legacy, the Shindels planted a lemon tree for each of their four sons. Now the lemon tree has been moved to a local park, where Mark's friends decorate it and celebrate him.