On Wednesday it was Israel’s Memorial Day for the countries’ fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. It began on Tuesday night with a siren at 8pm, which sounded again at 11am on Wednesday morning. It is a very moving sight to see the whole country come to a standstill, and respectfully bow their heads in memory. Cars on the roads stop, and all you can hear are the sounds of the birds. All day long , programmes are broadcast documenting the loved ones that have been lost, and memorial services are held throughout the country.
Then exactly 24 hours after the beginning of Memorial Day , we segue seamlessly into celebrating Israel’s Independence Day. It seems so strange to have this heavy day of mourning followed by such a joyous holiday. At 8pm, the parties begin. My city holds a big party in the main park with well-known Israeli artists performing, as well as local children’s choirs and dance troupes. Everybody enjoys the magnificent fireworks displays, and the children adorn themselves with flashing light gizmos, and run around spraying each other with cans of foam and silly string.
Thursday morning we got up before 8 am, a bit bleary eyed after the previous night’s partying, and drove off North to visit one of the Israeli Air Force Bases. The drive was not long but the line to get into the base definitely was! So after 2 hours in the car, we stepped out onto the runway to see military planes and helicopters all parked in a row. Each plane had a pilot (with moviestar good looks!) standing next to it, ready to answer any of our questions. There were also displays of engines, missiles, uniforms and all the survival equipment they carry, as well as gas tanks and other machinery that maintains the planes.
For me, the highlight of the visit was seeing all the fly pasts and aerial displays. There were several helicopter and plane fly pasts that circled a few times over our heads, and then flew off over the rest of the country. The best was a display of 4 jets that flew around doing loops in tight formation and then suddenly dived towards us, splitting apart at the last second. I tried to film this but the sunlight was so strong, and they were directly overhead, so all you see in my clip is the vapor trail, and hear me exclaiming “Wow! Look at that! Isn’t it amazing?”!!!
In the evening the celebrations continued with another free concert hosted by the city park. Tired after my day out, I enjoyed listening to it from the comfort of my own home, since my house is very close to the park.
It was a joyous and happy 64th Indpendence Day.