(Banner will apear here)

Beautiful Kabbalah Jewelry Judaicawebstore.com
Font Size:


Nation Comes To Halt In Tribute To 22,123 Fallen Men & Women

Tens Of Thousands Visit Military Cemeteries Across Country

Resting place of Pilot Avi Lanir, who died while captured in Syria

Israel is remembering its fallen servicemen and women with memorial services in military cemeteries around the country. The main cemetery was held on Mount Herzel in Jerusalem. Delivering the only address, Prime Minister Designate Ehud Olmert made no direct reference to the Palestinian terrorism or the Iranian nuclear threat.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

The sirens wail from the military cemetery on Jerusalem's Mount Herzel and in the cities, towns and villages throughout Israel. Israelis stop whatever they are doing to bow their heads and pause and to remember. Everyone knows a relative or a friend among the 22,123 men and women who died in defense of the state. But the sirens howl is also the alarm of war that has often sounded in the Jewish state and that has taken so many lives. It is not two minutes of solemn silence but a piercing lamentation for the fallen. Traffic halts and drivers get out to stand in silence, schoolchildren conduct special memorials and TV and radio stations carry the central service on Mount Herzel for those not attending. Tens of thousands of family members and friends flock to the military graveyards with flowers to place on the graves. This year 138 new graves have been added to the seemingly endless rows. So still there is no end in sight to the Palestinian terrorism and an Iranian nuclear threat looms on the horizon. Security is and must be tight.

On Mount Herzel, an honor guard of IDF soldiers stands at attention, a proud but painful reminder of the fallen, many who were still teenagers, and are now frozen perpetually in youth. While the leaders of Israel have come to pay a public tribute, each and every family member and friend has a private and personal recollection of the fallen. The mothers and fathers recall every detail of the last time they saw their son or heard his voice on a cell phone. And they will also remember the moment they were informed that their worst fear had come true, shattering their lives forever.

A bereaved father recites Kaddish, the prayer for the dead, the IDF cantor chants the prayer El Maleh Rachamim, and a bugler plays the Last Post.

President Katzav & PM Olmert

Prime Minister designate Ehud Olmert addresses the throng recalling how death came suddenly to the fallen. They, who were ready to make the ultimate sacrifice so that Israel might live. In his effort to unify all Israelis on this day, Olmert avoids all political issues. He was aware that words could not console the bereaved but he wished them to know that all Israelis shared a part of their grief and he hoped that through this public embrace they might find some comfort.

Public wreaths are placed by the country's leaders and bereaved relatives. The ceremony ends with a rifle salute by the honor guard and then many relatives and friends walk slowly back to the grave of the soldier they loved and knew. Throughout the day, similar ceremonies will be held in scores of military cemeteries around the country. And until the sun sets on Memorial Day, those cemeteries will be filled with mourners.

David Essing

Back To The Top