Israel Honors Its Fallen

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- At 8:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, a siren will sound across the country ushering in Memorial Day. At 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, a second siren will sound.

Over the next 24 hours, the nation will honor soldiers who died defending the country and those killed in terror attacks, 23,993 Israelis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on behalf of the nation to families mourning the loss of loved ones.

"My brothers and sisters, members of bereaved families, it was the heartfelt duty of our dear ones that led them to face the enemy.  It is the duty of our conscience that leads us to stand with eyes closed and not only remember but look toward the future as well. 

"Today, the people of Israel lay aside disagreements and stand as one beside you. Today we remember the fallen of Israel's wars, all of our dear ones. Each one had a family. Every name has a life's story of its own; an entire world has been cut short. 

"As a member of a bereaved family, Remembrance Day is very significant for me.  It is not only a national day of remembrance; it is also a private day of remembrance for me and my family, as it is for all of you," Netanyahu said. 

"After Remembrance Day, the State of Israel will celebrate its 64th birthday. The unbreakable bond between Remembrance Day and Independence Day underscores the fact that our dear ones who fell in Israel's wars did not fall in vain.

"Thanks to them, the State arose. Thanks to them, the State of Israel will continue to develop and prosper, and thanks to them the members of the younger generation will also be able to live their lives in security and tranquility," he said.

Quoting the Jewish prophet, Isaiah, "Comfort you, comfort you My people," Netanyahu told families to "be comforted in the building up of the country, in the building up of Zion, and do not know sorrow anymore."

At military cemeteries around the country Wednesday, families will recite the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, at the gravesites of their loved ones. It's a beautiful prayer of praise and thanksgiving, acknowledging the majesty and goodness of God. Here's one small part:

"Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, mighty, upraised and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, blessed is He."

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