SUNSET SUNDAY, MAY 8: Sirens will blare across the State of Israel tonight as citizens mark Yom Hazikaron—the Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day. Beginning with a nationwide moment of silence at 8 p.m., Israel will honor the more than 20,000 soldiers and almost 4,000 civilian terror victims who gave their lives for the establishment and maintenance of their country. (My Jewish Learning has more.)
In a continuous motion, Israelis will be led from memorial prayers for the fallen to joyous celebrations, as Israel marks Yom Ha’atzmaut—Independence Day—tomorrow evening. By pairing these two days, Israelis remember the price paid for the freedom they enjoy. (For personal stories, articles and more, check out Aish.com.)
Daytime ceremonies officially begin tomorrow at 11 a.m. with another statewide siren, after which memorials and private remembrances take place. (Wikipedia has details.) Often, Israel’s current military members lead ceremonies on Yom Hazikaron in all cemeteries where soldiers are buried.
More than just a day for cemetery ceremonies, Yom Hazikaron’s solemnity envelopes the entire country: all restaurants, stores and movie theaters are closed; radio and television stations run programs on Israeli wars; almost every high school recognizes its fallen graduates.
Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.