Israel marks its pain, then erupts in joy

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Israel on Wednesday played out its unique annual narrative whereby the nation solemnly and tearfully remembers those who have died defending the nation, and then with the setting of the sun erupts in joy over the independence those deaths have purchased.

A two-minute siren blast at 11 AM brought the nation to a standstill to remember the more than 22,000 Israelis who have been killed in battle and in terrorist attacks since 1948.

Ceremonies at the nation's military cemeteries followed, giving those who have lost loved ones - and in Israel that is just about everyone - a chance to mourn together as one family.

At sunset, Israelis made the sudden, mind-jarring switch from pain to joy as Independence Day officially got underway with jubilant street parties, rallies and fireworks.

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