Yesterday, on the eve of Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Victims of Terrorism (Yom Hazikaron in Hebrew), a new $25 million national Hall of Remembrance dedicated to fallen soldiers was unveiled on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, where Israel’s national cemetery and other memorial and educational facilities are located.
The hall features a 60-foot mountain of stones and a bell made of more than 6,000 steel bricks. The walls are covered with about 23,000 bricks, each engraved with the name of a fallen soldier, the date the soldier was killed and a candle to be lit on the anniversary of the soldier’s death.
“The Hall of Remembrance will allow for a personal and collective experience of commemoration and is an expression of the country’s moral obligation to remember every single one of its fallen,” the Defense Ministry said. “It is the only structure in the country that physically commemorates all of Israel’s fallen, from all of its wars, on its very walls.”
Memorial Day begins at nightfall (this year, April 30) with a 60-second siren during which Israelis stand still in silence. A two-minute siren is sounded the next morning.
An estimated 1.5 million people are expected to visit Israeli cemeteries today.
At Mount Herzl, each grave is decorated with an Israeli flag with a black ribbon, a memorial candle and flowers — 300,000 stems of Israeli-grown chrysanthemum, statice, gerbera and roses gathered into 70,000 bouquets. Overall, 130,000 floral wreaths will be placed by members of the Ministry of Defense’s Department of Families and Commemoration at 52 military cemeteries.
Memorial Day ends tonight with a torch-lighting ceremony on Mount Herzl, and is immediately followed by the start of Israel’s 69th Independence Day celebrations. Similar ceremonies take place in communities across Israel.