Israel stands still to remember its fallen

Monday, April 23, 2007 |  by Staff Writer  

Israel came to a standstill for two minutes on Monday morning as air raid sirens were sounded throughout the land in honor of the 22,305 soldiers that have fallen defending the reborn nation during its short modern history.

As is tradition, even motorists on Israel's busiest highways pulled over and stood in reverent silence beside their vehicles as the sirens blared.

The call to remembrance was followed immediately by an official state ceremony at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl military cemetery.

A one-minute siren on Sunday evening marked the beginning of Israel's Remembrance Day and a long night of heart-rending memorial services, both private and public, across the country.

But as the sun sets on Monday, Israelis will suddenly transition from mourning to joy as the nation marks 59 years of renewed independence after nearly two millennia of exile.

It seems a difficult transition to most outsiders, but Israelis see the festive celebration of their nationhood as a fitting follow-up to the tears they shed only hours earlier over those who paid the ultimate price for Israel's independence and security.

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