Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s day of remembrance for its 23,544 fallen soldiers, members of security forces and victims of terror, began yesterday afternoon. Included in the total are over 3,000 civilians. According to the National Insurance Institute, there are a total of 9,157 bereaved parents in Israel, thousands of bereaved siblings, 4,881 widows and 1,843 orphans under the age of 30.
Places of entertainment are closed until tonight and TV and radio stations air war stories and melancholy music. At 8pm there was a one minute long siren, followed by a solemn ceremony at the Western Wall. The President and IDF Chief of Staff lit candles in memory of the fallen.
President Rivlin said, ““By this Wall of tears and of hopes, this evening, fifty years after the liberation of Jerusalem, we remember: our liberty is sacred, both sacred and hard. We know that there is a price to be paid for our existence here, for our liberty. There is a price, and we, in awe and terror, are willing to pay that price.”
He added, “For this, the IDF must be completely dedicated to the tasks before it. The IDF is all of us: it defends us, we defend it. Our defense and the defense of the IDF – its official national status – is defense of the most fundamental foundations of our national home. We must always remember: together we fall, and together we stand.”
At 9:15pm, the “Songs in Their Memory” began at the Knesset in Jerusalem, with the president, the prime minister, the Knesset speaker, the defense minister, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh and Deputy IDF Chief Yair Golan in attendance.
Today, a two minute long siren was sounded at 11am. It was followed by a state memorial service at the Mount Herzl cemetery, with the president, the prime minister and the IDF chief of staff in attendance. At the same time, a state memorial service was also held at the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv, which was attended by the defense minister. A memorial service for terror victims was held on Mount Herzl at 1pm.
The Memorial Day events will end at 8pm in a torch-light ceremony on Mount Herzl that would also mark the beginning of Independence Day celebrations.
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As a parent, the thought of losing a child is tragic and horrifying. Today is a time for us all to pay tribute to those men and women who gave their lives in the defense of Israel, and to give some measure of consolation to their parents whose pain and lose remains. We owe them a debt of gratitude we can never repay. All we can do is say thank you, honor the memories of the fallen, and appreciate the gift they have given us.
May Israel be blessed with peace and unity in the merit of those who gave their lives to ensure its survival.
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