This morning, on the Day of Remembrance for Israeli Fallen Soldiers, the IAF conducted its central ceremony on Pilots’ Mountain. At the peak of the mountain, in the 1950’s, a monument was erected in memory of the fallen sons and daughters. At 11:00 AM, at the sound of the siren heard around the country, a formation conducted a memorial flyover. The three A-4 Skyhawks of the “Flying Tiger” squadron marked 40 years since the Yom Kippur War, in which the lives of 53 air crew members were lost.
This year, two more families of the IAF lost their loved ones. Only one month ago, the IAF bowed its head as it learned of the deaths of pilots Lieutenant Colonel Noam Ron, 49, from Oranit, and Major Erez Flexer, 31, from Herzliya, in a Cobra helicopter crash.
Grandchildren, who are pilots themselves, remember their grandparents
This year’s Remembrance Day marks the four decades that have passed since the Yom Kippur War, one of the most difficult battles the State of Israel has seen. Kaddish was recited by Mr. Shmuel Axelrod, the father of Master Sergeant Avraham Axelrod, an in-flight technician who was killed in the Yom Kippur War when his helicopter exploded from a missile hit on October 12th 1973. The speech of the families of the fallen was conducted by Mrs. Tirtza Bar-Ziv, the mother of Major Levy Bar-Ziv, who died when a missile hit his plane in the Yom Kippur War, on October 7th 1973.
The bouquet of the families of the fallen was placed on the monument by two grandchildren who lost their grandfather in the Yom Kippur War and afterward continued in his footsteps and enlisted in the Pilot Training Course. “To a certain extent, the course allowed me to get to know my grandfather and feel more connected to him”, shared the granddaughter of Lieutenant Colonel Shimon, Lieutenant Y’, when she received the wings. “I’m very proud of my grandfather’s path, proud to be here and in a certain way to continue what he started”. The speech of the “Friends in Battle” will be carried out by Colonel (Res.) Dr. Shmuel Gordon, a military historian and combat pilot emeritus who commanded over the “Scorpion” squadron and fought in the Yom Kippur War.
Additionally, Commander of the IAF lit the memorial flame and conducted a speech. “The journey of the fallen is to us a compass and imperative: Not to loosen our grip, to continue full force to be better and worthy of the great responsibility on our shoulders”, wrote Major General Amir Eshel. “We will treasure the memory of our fallen ones for eternity. We will persevere in our journey ceaselessly and fearlessly. We will march with confidence in the route of Israel, true, determined and imbued with a sense of higher purpose”.