1.5 million to visit soldiers' graves after 2-minute siren

Air-raid sirens sound throughout country in honor of Israel's Remembrance Day; ceremonies set to begin at Mt. Herzl military cemetery, 43 additional cemeteries throughout country.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
May 9, 2011 10:15
2 minute read.
Israeli soldier salutes soldier's grave in J'lem.

soldier salutes a soldier's grave_311 reuters. (photo credit: BAZ RATNER / REUTERS)

 
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A two-minute siren sounded throughout the country at 11 a.m. Monday, in commemoration of Israel's Remembrance Day.

Immediately following the siren, a ceremony began at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres were scheduled to attend the ceremony.

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A special ceremony for overseas Mahal volunteers who fought and died during the War of Independence will also take place at the Mahal memorial near the Sha’ar Hagai Junction.

Ceremonies were due to be held at an additional 43 cemeteries, and the Defense Ministry said it expects over 1.5 million people to visit soldiers’ graves throughout the day.

The ministry has purchased over 1 million flowers, which it will distribute free at the state cemeteries. The service is available on a special website sponsored by the ministry's Department for Commemorating Soldiers and can be accessed at: http://www.izkor.gov.il

Earlier Monday, Israel Police gathered at Mount Herzl in memory of the country's 1268 fallen police officers as part of the nationwide Remembrance Day ceremonies. This year, an additional 19 names were added to the list of the fallen.

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Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, and representatives of bereaved families attended the ceremony.

Commenting on the tragedy of the Carmel fires in December, Danino said "Police officers and cadets entered the flames of the fire, and did not return. We need to praise their courage. The debt that we owe them is a great and enormous one."

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Kicking off Remembrance Day events on Sunday, the nation bowed its head in mourning for 22,867 servicemen and -women who fell defending the land of Israel since 1860 – the year the first Jews left Jerusalem’s Old City walls to settle other parts of the country.

In the past year, 183 soldiers and security personnel died while serving the state. The figure includes the Prisons Service victims of the Carmel fire.

Remembrance Day officially began at 8 p.m. Sunday when a one-minute siren sounded across the country. President Shimon Peres opened the state ceremony at the Western Wall, which was attended by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and representatives of bereaved families.

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