PM Speeches PM Sharon’s Speech at the Memorial Service for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Har Herzl

PM Sharon’s Speech at the Memorial Service for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Har Herzl Mr. President and Mrs. Katsav, Dear Families, Distinguished Guests, This day is a day of togetherness and a day of unity. It is a day of transcending petty conflict to attain those heights of virtue reached by our heroes and those who fell in our battles, whose pure blood saturated this good land, the land of our lives. They are buried here around us in rows, in the hilly ground, in the shade of the Jerusalem pines. Their silence is thundering, louder than any siren, heart-rending. Their voices are not heard, but they echo in every chamber of our souls. They command us to defend the State of Israel, fortify its unity and base it on social justice, Aliyah, security and peace. In humility, we will bow our heads and listen silently to the voices. In every military cemetery in Israel, bereaved families are now gathered, and each of them has an identical stone on which to pour out their tears of sorrow and yearning. The brotherhood of the fallen is a brotherhood of bereavement, with no distinction between community and sector, religious faith and place of residence. They are all present today, no one is missing. The nation envelops them with love, respect and gratitude, because its life was granted at the cost of their lives. There is no one in Israel who does not have a family member, friend, relative or acquaintance among the fallen. There is no one who does not now picture a beloved figure who left for war or other defense operations, and did not return. I remember them now, and always remember them: many of them lie here on this mountain, many others are buried in cemeteries around Israel. Friends, commanders and those I commanded, with whom I fought together, shoulder to shoulder, who fell during Israel’s wars, the War of Independence, the Battle of Kadesh, the Six Day War, the War of Attrition, the Yom Kippur War, and the Lebanon War, in retaliatory raids, in continuous struggles against terror to ensure the security of the citizens of Israel and in fulfilling their duties. Courageous, unreservedly loyal, they loved their people and their homeland, and were prepared, with their bodies, to defend the State of Israel, and the freedom and the independence which the Jewish people achieved in their land at the end of a long journey of wandering and hardship which lasted 2,000 years. A strong State of Israel with Jerusalem as its united capital, are the guarantee to the continued existence of the Jewish people, and we shall guard these forever. Dear Families, I have no words of comfort which will ease your pain, but I promise that the memory of the fallen has not, nor will it ever, be out of our sight. The great privilege and supreme responsibility bestowed on me, to lead the State of Israel at this time, are entirely dedicated to the purpose for which the fallen gave their lives: the State of Israel will continue to exist here safely, Jewish and democratic, in peace and prosperity; advancing the economy and welfare of its residents; advancing and developing its science, education and culture, for the benefit of the citizens of Israel and, in the future – also for the benefit of the peoples of the region. Together, as one, in faith and love of Israel, we will strive towards this great goal. And, G-d willing, it will not be long before we reach it. May the sacred memory of the fallen of Israel’s battles be blessed, and may their souls be forever bound to Israel’s eternity. BPI-info