Monday, May 9, 2011

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day here in Israel. Memorial day actually began last night at 8pm when the air raid siren sounded for one minute. Memorial day honors military personnel killed in the line of duty as well as victims of terrorists. For the last few weeks Israeli flags have been showing up everywhere. People have flags flying from their car windows and a few students have hung flags outside their windows. The student village has several large flags at both  entrance gates. One large flag on a building on each side of the village.

When I asked an Israeli about this holiday I was told that it is a very special day. Since military service is mandatory in Israel almost everyone has lost some one in the line of duty Or have been touched by a  terrorist attack. As I said Memorial day began last night with a siren, and a ceremony at the Western Wall where the Israeli flag was lowered to half staff. This morning at 11 am the air raid siren sounded again for one minute. When the siren sounds everyone stops even if you are driving. You can see in this video. You don't really need the sound on to view the video all you will hear is traffic and the air raid siren. Not all of the cars stop but a good number of them do.  Today government officials and top military personnel will visit the cemeteries where soldiers are buried. I have been told that this is a very solemn day. I am told that the radio today will only be playing soft more subdued music and the television programing will be solemn as well. I can't confirm this because I don't have access to TV or radio.

Memorial day is always celebrated the day before Independence Day. Independence Day will be the subject of tomorrow's post.


  1. Thank you for including the link to the video. It was easy to feel the respect and emotion attached to the act of stopping to honor those lost. It's amazing to think that this country has been 'at war',on some level, forever. And it's a beautiful expression that they have not become immune to that reality.

  2. I followed your video link to prior years of observance of Memorial Day in Israel. I ended up watching several videos from prior years as well. Not only did cars stop but people got out and stood by there cars with heads down. In the streets of Jerusalem pedestrians going about their errands stopped and showed respect for all who've lost family members in military service. The sacrifice of loved ones is remembered as if it had just happened. Amazing!