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Israel Remembers Fallen Soldiers

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A somber mood fell over Israel as the nation held annual observances for those who fell in defense of the Jewish state.

A one-minute siren and official ceremony at the Western Wall Plaza on Tuesday evening signaled the start of Remembrance Day, held annually on the day preceding Independence Day.

“We can be proud of our achievements, but we must remember the heavy price paid by our sons and fathers, brothers and sisters, and daughters, who fell in the defense of the state,” President Ezer Weizman told those gathered for the ceremony.

Since 1947, 18,748 Israelis have died defending Israel, and 77,126 have been disabled.

Restaurants and places of entertainment closed early for the day of remembrance. Radio stations broadcast subdued music and regular television schedules were pre-empted for special programming, which included a broadcast of the names of those who have died in Israel’s wars.

A state ceremony at Mt. Herzl was scheduled for Wednesday, along with other memorials at military cemeteries around the country.

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