JERUSALEM, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Israel came to a standstill on Tuesday evening in marking its annual Day of Remembrance of Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims.
The official memorial day pays tribute to soldiers killed during their military service and wars, as well as the civilian victims of attacks.
The day kicked off on Tuesday afternoon with a memorial service at the Yad Lebanim memorial for fallen soldiers in Jerusalem.
During the service, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the bereaved families, saying "Dear families, we will not let go of the defensive sword for the foreseeable future. "
Shops and businesses were shut down on in the evening, with TV channels airing films about bereaved families and the stories of fallen soldiers and radio stations playing melancholic tunes.
Sirens were activated at 8 p.m. local time (GMT 0800) for one minute of silence, followed by the opening of the main ceremony at the Western Wall in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem's Old City.
The ceremony was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Chief of Forces Gadi Eizenkot, military and police officers, and bereaved families.
Multiple additional ceremonies and memorials will be held across the country in the upcoming 24 hours, from late Tuesday to Wednesday evening.
According to official figures, 23,645 fallen soldiers, police officers, police wardens, Shin Bet security service workers, and Mossad agents, who died defending their country since 1880, the year in which Jews first established a new neighborhood in Jerusalem.