Bereaved Families Petition for Break Between Memorial and Independence Days

On their way home from cemeteries and memorial ceremonies, the bereaved encounter roads closed due to preparations for Independence Day, says petition, adding that these families cannot make the quick switch from mourning to celebration.

Families who have lost loved ones in defense of the country are lobbying to change the calendar so Memorial Day does not fall the day before Independence Day. The effort has been gaining support.

About 5,000 signatures, many from members of bereaved families, have been collected so far on a petition calling for the change, which would require Knesset legislation. Memorial Day began yesterday evening and ends this evening, when the country begins 24 hours of celebrations for Independence Day.

cemetary, fallen soldiers
'A Row and a Half'

The petition states that, beyond the tremendous emotional pain the families experience on Memorial Day, the day demands a lot of them physically in visits to cemeteries and memorial ceremonies.

On the way home from the cemetery at the end of the day, the petition states, the bereaved encounter roads that are closed due to preparations for Independence Day.

"A minute after the terrible day of mourning, everyone (except us ) switches to huge celebrations all over the country," the petition says, adding that the current situation deprives "tens of thousands of bereaved families of the possibility of celebrating the country's independence" together with the rest of the country, noting that they have paid the highest price for the country's independence.

Bereaved family, Fallen soldier, Memorial Day - Reuters - 8.5.11