Yom HaZikaron, Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terror victims, got underway at 8pm Tuesday with a minute-long siren sounding across the country, in honor of the 23,928 people who have perished defending the country or at the hands of its enemies.
The siren was preceded by a remembrance ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Yad LaBanim House in Jerusalem and immediately followed by the central state service at the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem.
After the main service began the annual "Songs in Their Memory" event at the Knesset in Jerusalem and Ganei Yehoshua in Tel Aviv, bringing people and musicians together to remember through song those who were lost.
The names of the fallen were being aired consecutively and continuously on Israel's Channel 26 from Wednesday night until the end of Memorial Day.
Since last year's Memorial Day, 112 names have been added to the list of fallen including 69 former soldiers who died as a result of injuries sustained during their service.
There was also an 8pm ceremony at Latrun to mark the day, with a focus on the fallen soldiers and terror victims who came from the Diaspora.
President Reuven Rivlin and Jewish Agency chair Isaac Herzog were in attendance at the ceremony staged by Masa Israel Journey, which was being held simultaneously online and in person according to health regulations.
“This ceremony connects the global Jewish community through the story and people of Israel," said Masa Israel's acting CEO Ofer Gutman.
"At a time of global crisis, our unity is vital. This is the strength of our Jewish history, and the strength of our Jewish future.”
A second, two-minute siren will sound at 11am Wednesday, followed a nationwide remembrance ceremony at dozens of military and cemeteries and memorial sites across the country.
The central ceremony will take place at the National Memorial Hall for Israel's Fallen at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. Immediately after the siren, at 11:02am, there will be a special IAF flyby over the hall with a missing member of the formation to honor the fallen.
While unlike last year there are no restrictions on visitors to cemeteries due to coronavirus regulations, the government is asking that only the immediate family pay their respects at gravesites.
The national day of mourning ends at sundown Thursday, when the country switches from sadness to joy with the onset of Independence Day.
The two days, while apparently contradictory in tone, are marked side by side to remind Israelis of the price of the freedom that they celebrate each year.
First published: 20:01 , 04.13.21