Rona Ramon, the widow of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, will be among the beacon lighters on Mount Herzl to usher in Israel’s 68th anniversary of independence.
The Ministerial Committee for Symbols and Ceremonies has announced on Wednesday the names of the 14 people who, under the theme of “civilian heroism,” have been chosen to kick off the nation’s celebrations on May 11.
Among others are Herzl Biton, the bus driver who at the beginning of last year fought off a terrorist in Tel Aviv; and Father Gabriel Nadaf, the Greek Orthodox priest who has been encouraging Arab youth to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, and proved that it was more than mere lip service when his own son, Judaan Nadaf, joined the IDF in 2014.
Ramon, who also lost her son Assaf, an Israel Air Force pilot who was killed when his plane crashed in 2009, was commended for having turned personal tragedy into a force for good by contributing to society and the nation, in memory of her loved ones.
All 14 beacon lighters were singled out for extraordinary contributions to society, either through personal tragedies such as Ramon’s or through acts of courage in the face of mortal danger.