Military Cemetery, Hadera 1997-2007
Memorial Day is the saddest day in Israel.
Memorial Day is the saddest day in Israel. It’s a day when life stops racing forward, just for a moment, so that we may remember. Remember the thousands of soldiers who died so young so that we can live in this country. There is hardly a family in Israel not connected somehow to this pain, this bereavement, which has not lost a loved one in a war or a terrorist attack.
For me, the essence of this day is the ceremony which takes place at exactly the same time at all the military cemeteries in the country. There is something very powerful in the collective sorrow, in seeing thousands from all over the city and beyond converging into the military plot in the cemetery and in the ritual that repeats itself year in, year out.
At 11.00 exactly, a siren is heard. It cuts the air with a cry of pain. Then you hear words being said and the Jewish prayer for the dead - Kaddish. The ceremony is completed with a Fusillade of honor, which breaks the heavy, compressed silence of sadness and memory.
For ten years I photographed this day at the Military Cemetery in Hadera, my hometown. Each time from the same place, the path I took each year from my parents house to the cemetery and to the place where I stood next to the grave of Yehoshua Dagan, Riva’s husband, a friend of the family. Yehoshua was killed in 1967 during the Six Day War.
I stopped coming to photograph the ceremony at the cemetery in Hadera when Riva died in 2008.
Thank you to the Dagan family who allowed me to stand next to them, take photos and document the day, year after year.