A Lesson From Israel on How to Honor Veterans

What if Americans spent two minutes in silence, to honor their nation’s veterans?

The World, produced by Andrea Crossan (PRI).


On Yom Hazikaron a 2-minute siren is played on the air-raid system. The custom that has developed is that during those two minutes everyone stops what they are doing and stands still.

Michael and Daniel Bendetson saw how Israelis honor their veterans on Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) and wondered why we couldn’t do the same.

The Bendetsons were standing with their father, Peter, on a Tel Aviv sidewalk in 2010 when the sirens sounded before 120 seconds of reflection.

“At 11 a.m., a siren sounded throughout the entire country,” explained Daniel Bendetson, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Michigan. “Hundreds of people at a busy intersection got out of their cars and stood at attention for two minutes to pay respects to those who really make the ultimate sacrifice.”

So the Bendetsons set out to have Veterans’ Day in the US include two minutes of silence.

The proposal passed the US House of Representatives last week as part of the annual defense bill. Under the House bill, the moment would be observed at 2:11 p.m. on Veterans Day on the East Coast and simultaneously across the country: 1:11 p.m. in Chicago, 11:11 a.m. in Los Angeles, and 9:11 a.m. in Honolulu.