Israeli soldiers sit next to a monument engraved with names of fallen Israeli soldiers, before a ceremony marking Memorial Day in Jerusalem, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool via AP)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is commemorating its annual Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.

Sirens sounded nationwide at 8 p.m. local time on Tuesday and Israelis halted and stood silently with heads bowed for a solemn moment in memory of the dead. The official memorial ceremony honoring the dead is being held at Jerusalem's Western Wall.

Memorial Day is one of the most somber days of the year for Israel, as bereaved families visit cemeteries and take part in remembrance ceremonies. Restaurants, theaters and other entertainment venues close, and TV and radio broadcast melancholy music and stories about Israel's wars and the dead.

The country mourns through Wednesday, and then will transition into jubilant celebration at sundown with the marking of Israel's 71th anniversary of independence.

An Israeli soldier stands in front of a monument engraved with names of fallen Israeli soldiers, before a ceremony marking Memorial Day in Jerusalem, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool via AP)
An Israeli policewoman takes a selfie with her phone as she stands in front of a monument engraved with names of fallen Israeli soldiers, before a ceremony marking Memorial Day in Jerusalem, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool via AP)
An Israeli soldier walks past a monument engraved with names of fallen Israeli soldiers, before a ceremony marking Memorial Day, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool via AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a ceremony marking Memorial Day, which commemorates the fallen soldiers of Israel, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool via AP)
An Israeli soldier salutes in front of wreaths during a ceremony marking Memorial Day, which commemorates the fallen soldiers of Israel, at a monument in Jerusalem, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool via AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walks past wreaths during a ceremony marking Memorial Day,which commemorates the fallen soldiers of Israel, at a monument in Jerusalem, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool via AP)
Israeli soldiers light candles next to graves of fallen soldiers on the eve of memorial Day in Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Photos of Israeli fallen soldier Shahar Strug are placed on a tree next to his grave on the eve of memorial Day in Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Israeli soldiers light candles next to graves of fallen soldiers on the eve of memorial Day in Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Mazal Levi visits the grave of her brother, who was killed during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war in Sinai, as Israeli soldiers, in Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Israeli soldiers stand next to graves of fallen soldiers on the eve of memorial Day in Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Israeli soldiers salute as they stand next to graves of fallen soldiers on the eve of memorial Day in Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)