(VIDEO) Goodbye, Udi and Eldad: A convoy of military vehicles carrying the coffins of IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser left the Lebanon border Wednesday evening and arrived at IDF Base Shraga in the north. The soldiers' families and Israel's top political and military leaders later arrived at the base for an emotional farewell session. The families spent about an hour with the coffins of their loved ones, placed in two tents erected earlier in the day. Olmert and Karnit Goldwasser embrace (Photo: Avi Ohayon, GPO) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert entered the tent where Eldad Regev's casket was placed, hugged his brother, and wiped away tears. Later he walked up to Ehud Goldwasser's coffin and warmly embraced his widow Karnit Goldwasser and other relatives. Psalms were read in both tents and the Kaddish mourning prayer was recited Goldwasser's aunt also read a farewell letter she wrote. "It was an event where the eyes did the talking, not the mouth," IDF Spokesman Avi Benayahu said later. "Each family sat alone for long minutes, cried, and caressed the coffins. Karnit's mother read out a letter she wrote to Udi earlier. It was touching and very painful. The army chief saluted both coffins." Meanwhile, Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi sent a letter to all IDF soldiers, telling them that "today we are biting our lips…yet at the same time we are holding our heads high as a nation and as an army that are committed to the values of Judaism and to the special codes of Israeli society." "The supreme value of the sanctity of life and mutual responsibility are entrenched in our national and social psyche," the army chief wrote. "They are nobly expressed in the IDF every day…even when the price is high, we will remain committed to our values and beliefs, which distinguish the IDF and the people of Israel, and in this moral context too we shall be worthy of serving as a 'light unto the nations.'" 'We won't let enemies rejoice' Before leaving her home and heading to the base, Ehud's mother Miki Goldwasser said: "Family members must hold their heads high and not let our enemies rejoice." When asked how she feels, she responded: "I feel like a mother who lost her son." IDF officers at the border saluted the caskets earlier as they made their way to the northern Israel base. Later, dozens of citizens lined the road leading to the army base in honor of the dead soldiers. Ynetnews covers prisoner swap: Kidnapped troops return in coffins from Lebanon Olmert: We paid heavy price for captives Murderer Kuntar a free man Peres: Moral victory is ours Karnit's father: She's hurting Abbas congratulates Kuntar's family Families devastated at footage of coffins UN chief: Our prayers are with the families Opinion/ Do it for the troops Opinion/ Sad day for Nasrallah Opinion/ Hizbullah's ultimate victory The convoy was led by two vehicles carrying the soldiers' coffins, which have been draped by Israeli flags a Golani Brigade NCO was travelling in each vehicle and carrying the dead soldiers' ranks. Funerals to be held Thursday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi arrived at the base and spoke to the bereaved families. The families were expected to return home, ahead of Thursday's funerals. We salute you (Photo: Avihu Shapira) Ehud Goldwasser will be laid to rest at 10 am Thursday at the military cemetery in Nahariya, while Eldad Regev will be laid to rest at 2 pm at the military cemetery in Haifa. The families received official confirmation that Goldwasser and Regev were dead after the bodies were examined following their return to Israel Wednesday. Karnit Goldwasser's father, Omri Avni, said: "We will stand in front of the coffin. Some of us will stand there alone, and others in groups and pairs, and we will say our final words to them."