President Shim'on Peres inaugurated Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers, pre-state defenders and terror victims by noting that the United Nations decided on the creation of a Jewish state in 1947 but "the state arose on the blood of its children, the sweat of its pioneers [and] the vision of its prophets. And for all that Israel has accomplished, he said, "A cloud of sadness envelops us." He added, "I doubt if there's another country in the world, that at the top of its agenda, in the decisive discussions about undertaking operations, that sadness is present." Without its defenders, there would be no Israel, he said.
Calling on the bereaved families to carry the country, Peres said, "We still live by the sword but we pursue peace with all our heart. The battle is not over. We have not reached our goals." He concluded by saying, "May the memory of the fallen of Israel's wars be blessed and etched in the heart of Israel from generation to generation."