Today we remember the more than twenty thousands soldiers and civilians that fell in defense of Israel. It is no coincidence that we celebrate our independence directly following this day, for although Yom Hazikaron (the day of remembrance) is a day of solemn introspection, it is not a day of mourning. We do not sit on low stools, wear torn clothing, and recite lamentations. Instead, we pay tribute to our heroes and take immense pride in their accomplishments and contributions to the safety of our nation.
We recognize that just over 60 years ago, millions of our people were murdered, but due to the sacrifice of our fallen heroes, and the hundreds of thousands who continue to stand guard over us, such a tragedy will never again be perpetrated against us. We celebrate the state we built that protects the Jewish people and that removed the Chillul Hashem that followed us for 2,000 years, when our enemies mocked, “where is your God?” We celebrate the fulfillment of the words of our holy prophets, the return of our people from the four corners of the world, to a land bursting with creativity and promise, kindness and compassion. We continue to remember the sacrifices of the fallen with pride and gratitude, for making it possible for us to celebrate our freedom and security.