It's that time of year again.
This morning, Wednesday, April 18, air raid sirens blared all across the Land of Israel. Not because we were under attack, but rather as a call to remembrance for the 23,646 soldiers and 3,134 terror victims who have fallen in Israel's wars and various conflicts.
Nearly every Israeli stopped whatever he or she was doing, even if driving on the highway, and stood solemnly as the two-minute siren wailed.
And, just as every year, the tremendous sadness we are feeling today over the loss of loved ones will give birth to explosive celebration this evening as we celebrate the victory that their sacrifices have made possible.
Israel this year celebrates 70 years of its modern independence. That's not a thing to take lightly.
Israel's history is long, nearly 3,500 years. But so much of that time has been spent in exile. For the third time in her history, Israel is a sovereign, independent state, and she's doing her best to make the most of every minute.
Who knows where Israel will be 70 years from now. But, if her stunning development and growth over the past 70 years is any indication, then the sky's the limit.
Happy Birthday, Israel!
PHOTO: All across the nation, the scene was the same on Wednesday - bereaved Israeli families tearfully visiting the graves of their fallen. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)