The United States established Memorial Day in 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War. Memorial Day was first called “Decoration Day,” as it was meant as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.

Israel established its Memorial Day shortly after the founding of the State of Israel in remembrance of the individuals who sacrificed their lives defending the newly founded Jewish state from attacks by its Arab neighbors in reaction to the 1947 UN partition plan: as soon as the British left the country, five Arab armies — Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq — immediately invaded Israel.

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