Israel’s national Memorial Day commemorations to begin Tuesday

Israel’s national Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism to begin Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday ahead of Israel’s celebration of 68 years of independence

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On Tuesday evening into Wednesday, Israel will commemorate Yom Hazikaron, the State of Israel’s national Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism.

Yom HaZikaron was implemented in 1963 and is a national day of remembrance for all who have fallen for the creation of the State of Israel. It is one of four Jewish holidays and remembrance days added to the Jewish calendar since the establishment of the State of Israel.

Yom Hazikaron will begin Tuesday late afternoon with a siren at 8:00 pm designating one minutes of silence for Israel’s 23,447 fallen. Ceremonies will be held through out the nation Tuesday evening and Wednesday ahead of Israel’s Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut) celebrations that will begin on Wednesday evening into Thursday.

On Tuesday afternoon, a memorial ceremony will be held at the Yad Labanim (A Memorial to the Sons) in Jerusalem, with numerous ceremonies held through out Israel. On Tuesday evening, a candle lighting ceremony will be held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem as with every year, with a national ceremony held on Israel’s military cemetery in Jerusalem, Mt. Herzl.

Israel’s annual “Flag for the Fallen” ceremony at Mt. Herzl began on Sunday, Israeli flags placed on the graves on fallen IDF soldiers. This year marks the 15th “Flag for the Fallen” ceremony, speeches delivered by the IDF’s Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Heads of the Israeli Police, Defense Ministry and Commemoration Division additionally gave speeches.

On Sunday, Lt. Gen. Eisenkot spoke during the “Flag for the Fallen” ceremony. He stated the flags placed on the graves of all fallen soldiers are a “symbol of the loss and pain bound up in the revival of our nation. In the name of the entire people of Israel, IDF soldiers and youth group members will pass among the gravestones and place a flag by each name in memory of the fallen. This is our way of saluting our sons and daughters who set out on their missions, acted in accordance with the values of those missions, values of friendship and love of their country, and they gave their lives for that purpose: to protect the country and its people. The IDF will continue to be there for you and to embrace you, to carry forward the memory of your loved ones, to walk in their path and to come back here year after year to reverently salute each and every one of them… Today, we will also remember the missing IDF soldiers and those whose burial places are unknown, and we promise that we will not rest until we return everyone to our borders.”

As with every year, Israel’s Defense Minister has written a letter to the families of Israel’s fallen. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon wrote in this year’s letter “From Dan to Eilat men and women, Jews and non-Jews, religious and non-religious — grief knows no boundaries. We meet you, dear families, between the cold tombstones and at the memorial ceremonies, are moved by your strength, by your ability to choose life despite the disaster that struck you, and to be the pillar of fire that leads the camp.”

On Wednesday morning, a two-minute siren will be heard through out all of Israel remembering Israel’s fallen. Ceremonies and programs will continue through out the day until Wednesday evening when Israel will celebrate its 68 years of independence.