Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut: The Hope Endures
Israel, a tiny country surrounded by enemies and originally covered with desert in the south and swamps in the north. In the 65 years since the modern State of Israel gained independence, this small country has turned the land lush and accomplished remarkable achievements that have influenced the world.
Beginning on the evening of Sunday, April 14th and ending with sunset on Wednesday, April 16th we celebrate the amazing country we call Israel with two special days. The first is Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day. This year the day we remember and honor all the fallen soldiers of Israel begins on the evening of Sunday, April 14. It continues the next day with memorial services throughout the country and a siren at 11:00 in the morning. During the two minute siren Israelis stop work, stop driving, stop talking and stand in silent reverence to the fallen. This is a solemn day in Israel; it is a time to remember and thank those who gave their lives for this country.
As night falls on Monday, April 15th, Israel transitions to Yom HaAtzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. On this day Israelis celebrate. There are picnics, parades, parties and fireworks. Israel celebrates with abandon despite all the struggles still faced by this tenacious country. There is a pervasive feeling of hope on this day. We hope for the continued existence of the State of Israel, we hope all our conflicts will be resolved and our children will not be asked to give the ultimate sacrifice and we hope for the strength of all Israelis to continue to persevere.