On Monday evening, Israelis will dedicate a solemn day to remembering those who’ve lost their lives since the country was reborn in 1948; Two sirens will sound throughout the country – one at 8:00 PM on Monday evening, and the other on Tuesday at 11:00 AM.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Monday evening will mark the beginning of Israel’s Memorial Day, or Yom HaZikaron, observance. Yom HaZikaron is a day of remembrance for the Jewish State’s fallen soldiers, veterans, and victims of terrorism. Over 24,000 Israeli soldiers have died since the nation was reborn in 1948, with numerous others being injured. Well over 3,000 Israelis have been killed from acts of terror as well.
Some of Israel’s major battles/wars include The War of Independence (1947-1949), The Sinai Campaign (Operation Kadesh – 1956), The Six-Day War (June 1967), The War of Attrition (1968-1970), The Yom Kippur War (1973), The Lebanon War: Operation Peace for Galilee (1982), The Gulf War (1991), The Second Lebanon War (2006), in addition to several other military confrontations.
At 8:00 PM Israel Time on Monday, a one-minute siren will initiate the beginning of Yom HaZikaron. At the sound of this siren, Israelis throughout the country will stop what they’re doing and honor those who’ve gone before them. Unlike several other countries around the world, most Israelis have spent some amount of time in the military. An additional siren will sound at 11:00 AM on Tuesday.
Fallen police officers, Mossad agents, and General Security Service members are also recognized on Yom HaZikaron. Following the second siren, several ceremonies will commence throughout the day. The Israeli flag will be lowered to half-mast and radio stations throughout the country will play recordings about the history of Israel’s wars. Some people will recite different prayers throughout the day as well.
One cannot emphasize enough the value given to each person serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). To provide you with a specific example, in most countries, the engine of a combat tank will be located at the back of the machine. That way, if a tank is targeted in the front and the soldiers die, there is the possibility of salvaging the engine to reuse it. This is not the case in Israel, as its tanks are equipped with engines in the front. This means that if an attack were to occur and the tank was struck, the engine might be destroyed, but the soldier(s) might be spared. The emphasis is on the soldier, not the vehicle.
There’s no question as to the significance of this day, for, without the commitment of the Jewish men and women to defend their God-given land throughout history, there would be no Jewish State. This is why Memorial Day comes immediately before Independence Day, or Yom HaAtzma’ut, in Israel – to honor the fallen prior to celebrating freedom.
Today, Israel’s military is ranked among the top 5 most powerful militaries in the world.
Yom HaZikaron will conclude with a torch-lighting ceremony at Mt. Herzl where the burial site of Theodore Herzl is located. Furthermore, it marks the beginning of Independence Day – a joyous celebration throughout the country.