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The United States Taiwan Defense Command was originally formed as the Formosa Liaison Center (founded in 1955 after the signature of the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty of December 1954 and the first Straits crisis of Sept. 1954). In November 1955, the FLC become the Taiwan Defense Command. The command reported directly to the Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC). The command was composed of personnel from all branches of the U.S. armed forces and had its headquarters in Taipei. The first commander of the USTDC was Alfred M. Pride, Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet.
When the Korean War broke out in 1950, the United States Seventh Fleet routinely patrolled the Taiwan Strait until the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and People's Republic of China in 1979 .
In 1954, the United States Seventh Fleet also dispatched a detachment to the Zuoying Military Port in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
The USAF 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron is deployed at Chiayi Air Base, Taiwan, from 27 January – 17 February 1955 and 1 July – 1 October 1955, using F-86 Sabre fighters.
The 44th Fighter-Bomber Squadron operating the F-86 Sabre was deployed to Taoyuan Air Base, Taiwan from 27 January to 17 February 1955 and again from 3–30 September 1955.
USTDC was a combined arms theater headquarters for the defense of Taiwan and the Pescadores. In the event of hostilities, the USTDC commander would have coordinated with the Government of the Republic of China in the defense of Taiwan and the Pescadores. In the event of such a contingency, three existing service commanders would have reported to the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command commander. The 327th Air Division commander would be the air component commander, the Taiwan Patrol Force commander would be the naval component commander (the Taiwan Patrol Force being drawn from the United States Seventh Fleet), and the Chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group China (the MAAG) would be the Army component commander. The 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Thirteenth Air Force, at Clark Air Base in the Philippines had reinforcement air defence functions for Taiwan for a period.
The 24th Tactical Missile Squadron was stationed at Tainan Air Base on 7 May 1957. It was equipped with MGM-1 Matador missiles. The deployment was completed in October. The 17th Tactical Missile was also equipped with MGM-1 Matador missiles The squadron also completed its deployment at Tainan Air Base in November of that year. After 1958, its designation was changed from 17th Squadron to the 868th Tactical Missile Squadron, and it continued to station at Tainan Air Force Base until June 1962. On 25 February 1958, the U.S. Air Force built a Mark 7 nuclear bomb storage facility at Tainan Air Base, and began to deploy Nuclear bomb in Taiwan in 1960. The last batch was withdrawn in 31 July 1974.
In August 1958, in response to the situation of the Taiwan Strait crisis, the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Aircraft Group 11 urgently stationed at Pingtung Air Base to strengthen the air defense of southern Taiwan, and was equipped with Douglas F4D Skyray and North American FJ-2/-3 Fury. The commander was Colonel Marshall, and they were not evacuated until the situation eased in January 1959.
In August 1958, U.S. Army dispatched the 71st Air Defense Artillery Regiment from Texas to Taiwan, equipped with the MIM-14 Nike Hercules.
On 10 September 1958, as part of the U.S. response to the 1958 Quemoy Crisis, disassembled F-104A Starfighters of the 83d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron were airlifted by C-124s to Taoyuan Air Base, Taiwan, where they were reassembled as part of Operation Jonah Able. The first F-104A was operational 30 hours after arriving and by 19 September the entire squadron was operational. In October 1958 the men of the 83rd FIS were relieved by the men of the 337th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron under the command of Col. James Jabara and in December the F-104s were again disassembled and loaded aboard C-124s for return to the 83rd FIS at Hamilton Air Force Base, California.
In September 1958, the number of US troops stationed in Taiwan increased from 5,500 in 1955 to 20,000.
The 405th Fighter Wing dispatched units of the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron equipped with F-100D Super Sabre to Tainan Air Base, in Tainan, Taiwan from November 1965 to August 1967. Later, they were transferred from Clark AB, Philippines. succeeded by 523d Tactical Fighter Squadron with F-4D fighters in Ching Chuan Kang Air Base, until August 1973.
In 13 May 1966 – 21 July 1966, the VMFA-314 and VMFA-323 of the US Marine Corps Fighter/Attack Squadrons in MCAS Iwakuni, Japan were Temporary duty assignment (TDY) to Tainan Air Base. Equipped with F-4B Phantom II, they were supported logistically by the 6214th Combat Support Group in support of the 327th Air Division.
In May 1967, Carlos Talbott of the U.S. Air Force became chief of staff of the command. From July 1968 – September 1970 the chief of staff was Brigadier General John A. Des Portes, U.S.A.F. In September 1970, Clarence J. Douglas, also of the Air Force, assumed duties as chief of staff.
Tactical Air Command reassigned the 314th Troop Carrier Wing, with Fairchild C-123 Provider and Lockheed C-130 Hercules to CCK AB, Taiwan on 22 January 1966 from Sewart AFB, Tennessee. Two Martin EB-57 Canberras from the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Yokota AB in Tokyo, Japan deployed to CCK AB, between 29 November and 8 December 1968. These aircraft provided ROC Air Defense pilots an opportunity to detect and intercept enemy aircraft that used electronic countermeasure (ECM) equipment.
The increase in the B-52 Arc Light sortie rates over Vietnam necessitated relocation of additional KC-135's which provided PACAF fighter support. In February 1968 the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command 4220th Air Refueling Squadron deployed to CCK AB, Taiwan bringing KC-135 tankers formerly based at Takhli RTAFB, Thailand and Kadena AB Okinawa.
During the peak period of the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1969, the number of US troops stationed in Taiwan gradually rose to 30,000.
The 314th TAW returned to Little Rock AFB, Arkansas in 1971. The 314th was replaced by the Fifth Air Force 374th Tactical Airlift Wing on 31 May 1971, being reassigned from Naha AB, Okinawa to Taiwan, Until 14 November 1973.
The 18th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Kadena AB, Okinawa maintained a detachment of McDonnell F-4C Phantom II aircraft to Taiwan from November 1972 until May 1975.
On 6 November 1972, the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing dispatched the McDonnell Douglas F-4C/D Phantom II fighters of 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron and 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron to the Ching Chuan Kang Air Base until 31 May 1975, to assist Taiwan’s air defense, defend against aerial threats from China.
With the withdrawal of the Republic of China from the United Nations in 1971 and the change in the U.S. policy toward China, the U.S. military gradually reduced the number of troops stationed in Taiwan. Subsequently, Washington and Beijing clearly stated in the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué that the U.S. would gradually withdraw all troops and military installations from Taiwan. In April 1973, after all the US troops withdrew from South Vietnam, the number of US troops stationed in Taiwan decreased to 12,000.
In 1972 the US president ordered the withdrawal of all nuclear weapons from Taiwan. 
On 31 August 1973, the F-4D fighter detachment belonging to the 523th Tactical Fighter Squadron withdrew to Clark Air Base, and was replaced by a detachment dispatched by the 90th Tactical Fighter Squadron until 31 July 1974.
After the US military withdrew from Vietnam, as airlift operations at CCK began to wind down, on 13 November 1973 the Pacific Air Forces withdrew the Lockheed C-130 Hercules of the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing from Ching Chuan Kang Air Base, total of 65 C-130E transport aircraft, 3,000 pilots and ground crew were evacuated and moved to the Clark Air Base, Philippine.
In September 1974, there were only 5,800 US troops stationed in Taiwan. On 26 March 1975, the US military advisory team stationed in Matsu, Kinmen, was withdrew, and the withdrawal of the 7th Fleet Detachment from the Zuoying Military Port in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Tainan Air Base had been phased down to caretaker status by the end of 1974.
On 10 April 1975, the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing withdrew from Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in Taichung, Taiwan, total of 24 McDonnell F-4C/D Phantom II fighters and 450 pilots and ground crews to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.
In May 1975, the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron was withdrawn from CCK AB (Ching Chuan Kang Air Base), Taiwan, with the final squadron of 18 F-4Cs departing for Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, between 27 and 31 May. By June, CCK AB had also been placed in caretaker status.
As of 31 July 1975, the number of U.S. troops stationed in Taiwan was 3,098. They were 1,684 in the Air Force, 519 in the Army, 450 in the Navy, 283 in the Joint Commands, 79 civilian personnel of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency, and 55 in the Military Assistance Advisory Group, and 28 in the Military Attache Office of the U.S. Ambassy in Republic of China (Taiwan).
On 7 January 1976, with the dissolution of 327th Air Division, the number of US troops stationed in Taiwan was reduced to 1,400. As of the end of 1977 (31 December), the size was 1,200, including 949 military personnel. And the rest of the civilian staff.
In January 1976, Chiayi Air Base was to be shut down and the 6215th Support Squadron was disband.
On 26 May 1976, the newly appointed commander of the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Taiwan (MAAG,Taiwan) was demoted from major general to brigadier general, and on 26 September 1977, was demoted to colonel.
In August 1977, the newly appointed commander of the United States Taiwan Defense Command was demoted from Vice admiral to Rear admiral.
As of 30 September 1978 (the end of the fiscal year), the number of US troops stationed in Taiwan was 753. According to the number of services, they were 357 in the Air Force, 209 in the Navy, 176 in the Army, and 11 in the Marine Corps.
On 1 January 1979, the United States and the People's Republic of China established diplomatic relations.
On 1 March 1979, the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Taiwan (MAAG,Taiwan) was dissolved, the last commander, Colonel Hadley N. Thompson, depart Taiwan on 26 April 1979.
The Command held its final flag retreat ceremony during the afternoon of 26 April 1979. Rear Admiral James B. Linder was the last USTDC commander to depart Taiwan on 28 April 1979, and the last U.S. soldier left Taiwan on 3 May 1979.
The former site of the USTDC headquarters became the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 1983.
The USTDC commanded a total of about 30,000 troops, including 9,000 infantry troops drawn from Army and Marine battalions, including an airborne battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division, 3 attack submarines, 4 navy frigates, 7 navy missile boats, a naval air wing comprising a Marine bomber squadron of 18 Douglas A-4 Skyhawk ground attack aircraft, 21 transport and SAR helicopters, 12 Kaman SH-2 Seasprite ASW helicopters and nine Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft a joint Army-Marine artillery group comprising a brigade fielding 203 mm and 155 m self propelled and towed guns plus one battalion of MGR-1 Honest John rockets and MGM-29 Sergeant surface-to-surface missiles, and two Marine tank battalions fielding the M48 Patton tank.
The USAF component included 4 squadrons (72 aircraft) of North American F-100 Super Sabre and Republic F-105 Thunderchief air superiority fighters, After 1972, there were two F-4 squadrons transferred from Kadena Air Base to Ching Chuan Kang Air Base,a Squadron of Nine Lockheed AC-130 ground attack aircraft, three KC-130 aerial refueling tankers, a EW and recon wing of a lone Lockheed RC-130 Hercules and a lone Boeing RC-135 aircraft. and a squadron of three Lockheed C-141 Starlifter heavy strategic airlifters and six Lockheed C-130 Hercules tactical airlifters.
Disney’s Candlelight Processional Through the Years
Candlelight Procession at Disneyland Park (1958)
The Candlelight Procession and Ceremony is one of the oldest and most beloved traditions in the 65-year history of Disney theme parks. When Disneyland celebrated its first Holiday Festival in 1955, a group of 12 Dickens carolers, under the direction of Dr. Charles C. Hirt of the University of Southern California, performed throughout the park, and guest choirs were invited to perform daily in the Main Street, U.S.A. bandstand, which was re-christened the “Christmas Bowl” for the season.
The Christmas Bowl at Disneyland Park (1955)
On the opening afternoon of the festival, the carolers and a 300-member massed chorus made up of visiting choirs stood together on the Train Station steps and sang Christmas carols accompanied by visiting school bands.
Massed Choirs perform on Main Street Station on December 15, 1956
The following year, under Dr. Hirt’s direction, the carolers and singers from eight visiting choirs also performed as a group on the station steps, this time accompanied by the Disneyland Band. In 1957, the event grew larger as choirs followed the “Christmas Around the World Parade” processing together from Sleeping Beauty Castle into the Plaza where they were to perform. Unfortunately, due to the size of the crowd, the singers were unable to form a circle in the center of the Plaza as planned. Instead, they stood around the Disneyland band and performed in an informal manner.
The first Candlelight Processional at Disneyland (1958)
The choirs and carolers were so well received by Disneyland guests that in 1958, Dr. Hirt suggested to management that performances by a larger massed choir group would be a welcome addition to future holiday events. Therefore, in December 1958, the first evening Candlelight Processional was held with singers from 16 choirs processing down Main Street to the Plaza where they performed a full concert with the Dickens Carolers singing from the Sleeping Beauty Castle balcony above.
In 1960 the event was moved back to Town Square, and actor Dennis Morgan was invited to read portions of the Biblical Christmas story in between the classical hymns. This tradition has continued with very famous celebrities including Cary Grant, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Olympia Dukakis and many others donating their eloquence to the program. The “Living Christmas Tree,” featuring the Western High School A’Capella Choir, was also incorporated into the Candlelight Ceremony that year as a centerpiece for the massed choir ceremony. Western had presented their impressive choral program at the park for the previous two years on a specially constructed “tree” made of risers. It was so well received that they were given this annual place of honor for the next 21 years until their director, Alexander Encheff, retired in 1981. In 1982, the newly formed Disney Employee Choir (volunteer Disney cast members from the Park, Studio and Walt Disney Imagineering) was selected to fill their place, an honor they have held ever since.
The Candlelight Procession and Ceremony at Disneyland (1976)
Over the years, the event has become so popular that it was also introduced at Walt Disney World’s inaugural holiday season in 1971 (starting at the Magic Kingdom, and moving to Epcot in 1994). It has grown from a simple procession of candle-lit carolers into a magnificent classical concert featuring a thousand voice massed choir, “The Living Christmas Tree”, orchestra, fanfare trumpets, bell choir, soloist, sign-language interpreter, guest conductor, and celebrity narrator. But for all of its grandeur, Disney guests particularly love Candlelight for the way it makes them feel each holiday season.
Actor Howard Keel, who narrated the ceremony at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in the 1980s, put it best. “I’ve never been a very religious person, but when you stand up there for all of those people with that incredible chorus and orchestra beside you, it’s a wonderfully moving experience.
Following the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which divided the British Mandate of Palestine, the country became increasingly volatile and fell into a state of civil war between the Jews and Arabs after the Arab residents rejected any plan that would allow for the creation of a Jewish state. In accordance with Plan Dalet the Haganah tried to secure the areas allotted to the Jewish state in the partition plan and the blocks of settlements that were in the area allotted to the Arab state.
David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948. His first order was the formation of the IDF – The Israel Defense Forces.
The IDF was based on the personnel who had served in the Haganah and the Palmach and was declared as the only legal armed force in Israel. Another main source of manpower were the immigrants from Europe. Some of them Holocaust survivors and others veterans from World War II.
Following the declaration of independence in 1948, Arab armies invaded Israel. Egypt came from the south, Lebanon and Syria from the north, and Jordan from the east backed by Iraqi and Saudi troops, in what Azzam Pasha, Arab League Secretary speaking on Cairo radio, declared would be "a war of extermination and a momentous massacre." 
In the initial phase of the war, the IDF was inferior in both numbers and armament. Invading Arab armies boasted 270 tanks, 150 field guns and 300 aircraft. The IDF had zero planes and three tanks.  Due to a number of reasons, the Arabs never managed to exploit their superiority in numbers. The Israelis managed to successfully defend themselves in virtually all battlefields with the notable exception of East Jerusalem. After the first truce 11 June to 8 July, the Israelis managed to seize the initiative due to new troop enrollments and supplies of arms. Notable achievements of the IDF include the conquest of Eilat (Um Rashrash), Nazareth, and the capture of the Galilee and the Negev.
The war continued until 20 July 1949, when the armistice with Syria was signed. By then the IDF had managed to repel the Egyptians to the Gaza Strip while Jordan took over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The evolution from several underground militias to a state army is not simple. Many in the Haganah felt it was their High Command's natural role to become the leadership of the new army. The First Law of the Provisional State Council, Paragraph 18, of the Order of Government and Legal Arrangement stated that "the Provisional Government is empowered to set up armed forces on land, sea and air, which will be authorised to carry out all necessary and legal actions for the defence of the country." [ citation needed ] The sensitivity of this issue is indicated by the delay of two weeks before, on 26 May 1948, David Ben-Gurion, for the Provisional Government, published the Israel Defense Forces Ordinance Number 4. It covered the establishment of the IDF, conscription duties, the oath of allegiance, and the prohibition of any other armed forces. The execution of the Ordinance was assigned to the Minister of Defence, David Ben-Gurion. His priority was the dissolution of military organisations affiliated to political parties. This led to a series of confrontations with leaders of the Palmach known as The General's Revolt.
The army was officially set up on 31 May. This involved renaming existing Haganah and Palmach Brigades and bringing them under one central command. Its officers began to take their oaths of allegiance on 27 June.  Lehi and Irgun came under central control in the following months.
Despite several further ordinances the actual role and responsibilities of the Minister of Defense were not defined. Nor was there any legal definition of the Cabinet's civil authority over the army. 
In those years the IDF started to rebuild itself as a modern army. It acquired heavier weapons and established an armored corps and the Israeli Air Force.
In order to enhance the morale and organization of the army and to combat the resurgent problem with Palestinian infiltration, Unit 101 was formed. It was led by Ariel Sharon, and carried out a number of retaliatory strikes on Jordanian territory to deter the infiltrators. After committing the notorious Qibya Massacre in 1953 it was merged with the Paratroopers Battalions and Sharon became its commander. Unit 101 is regarded as the mother of the IDF's strike force units.
In those years the IMI Uzi SMG and the FN FAL rifle were issued as standard infantry weapons.
From 1954 and 1955 Egypt established a special force unit known as the Fedayeen. It led to the escalation of hostilities over the Israeli-Egyptian border and eventually contributed to the 1956 Suez War.
In mid 1956, The Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, encouraged by support from the Soviet Union, nationalized the Suez Canal. In response, United Kingdom and France planned Operation Musketeer (1956) aiming at regaining Western control of the Suez Canal and removing the Egyptian president Nasser. In late 1956, the bellicosity of recent Arab statements prompted Israel to remove the threat of the concentrated Egyptian forces in the Sinai, and Israel invaded the Egyptian Sinai peninsula. Other Israeli aims were elimination of the Fedayeen incursions into Israel that made life unbearable for its southern population, and opening the blockaded Straits of Tiran for Israeli ships.       Israeli armour, equipped with tanks, such as M4 Sherman and AMX-13 quickly defeated the Egyptian forces and took control over the Sinai within a few days. As agreed, within a couple of days, Britain and France invaded too and recaptured the canal. Britain, France and Israel withdrew from Sinai under international pressure, particularly by the United States. But the IDF had achieved numerous goals the borders dramatically tranquilized, Nasser promised to disband the Fedayeen, the Straits of Tiran were once again opened to Israeli ships and maybe most important of all, Israel had illustrated its military strength. The successful war elevated the reputation of the IDF and contributed highly to the morale of the soldiers.
Following the successful campaign in Sinai, the IDF used this relatively quiet decade to arm on a great scale and increase military professionalism. The main suppliers of weapons was France, which provided Israel rifles, tanks and jet fighters, including the Dassault Mirage III. The peak of France's assistance was the construction of the Negev Nuclear Research Center near Dimona in 1960.
By 1966, Israeli-Arab relations had deteriorated to the point of actual battles taking place between Israeli and Arab forces.  In 1967, Egypt expelled UN peacekeepers, stationed in the Sinai Peninsula since 1957, and announced a partial blockade of Israel's access to the Red Sea. In May 1967 a number of Arab states began to mobilize their forces.  Israel saw these actions as a casus belli.
On the morning of 5 June 1967, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched a massive airstrike that destroyed the majority of the Egyptian air force on the ground. By noon, the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian air forces, with about 450 aircraft, were annihilated. This strike was code-named Operation Focus, Mivtza Moked.
The Egyptians persuaded Syria and Jordan to join the war by lying to them and reporting on "amazing victories" at Sinai. The two Arab countries reluctantly joined the war, Jordan by shelling the Israeli part of Jerusalem and Syria by entering Israel from the Golan Heights.
Meanwhile, the IDF ground forces quickly overran the Egyptian army in Sinai and were about to reach Alexandria. About 15,000 Egyptian soldiers were killed, 4482 fell into captivity and 80% of the Egyptian tanks were destroyed. 338 Israeli were killed in Sinai and of Israel's losses there were about 63 tanks.
All of the Sinai peninsula was captured. The IDF later captured the Golan Heights from the Syrians and the West Bank from Jordan.
On 7 June Israeli troops (the Harel unit Yerushalmi unit and elite paratroopers accompanied by tanks) captured the Old City of Jerusalem The conquest of the Western Wall and Temple Mount was considered as the highlights of the war and a dramatic and emotional peak by the Israeli people. The reunification of east and west Jerusalem as one city under Jewish control were celebrated widely in Israel.
The Six-Day War had great consequences for the state of Israel and the IDF. In six days Israel had defeated three Arab armies – Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Yitzhak Rabin, Moshe Dayan, Israel Tal, Moshe Peled and Mordechai Gur were admired by the public as "war heroes" while the IAF pilots won unprecedented prestige and were considered to be "the best pilots in the world" (even today, the IAF is considered to be one of the most competent air forces in the world).
Israel's alleged pre-emptive strike in the Six Day War resulted in a French embargo banning all weapon sales to Israel. Israel overcame the embargo by finding other suppliers (such as the United States) and developing and making its own weapons. A strategic decision was made then to make an Israeli battle tank, an Israeli fighter jet, and an Israeli warship – for example: the Kfir fighter jet and the Merkava tank.
After the Six-Day War was over, IDF outposts on the Suez Canal were shelled by the Egyptian army. It was a long and bitter war that ended after three years due to Israeli air superiority.
There were also frictions and battles with Syrian forces on the northern border. In the Israeli reprisal operation ("Three Day Battles" 24–27 June 1970) about 350 Syrian soldiers were killed.
The Yom Kippur War, also known as the "10th of Ramadan War" in Arab countries, tempered Israeli confidence created after the victory of the Six-Day War. This time, Jordan stayed out and wasn't involved in the war. The war opened on 6 October 1973 on Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday.
Egypt and Syria attempted to regain the territory Israel had acquired in its defensive war in 1967, known as the Six-Day War. Their armies launched a joint surprise attack on the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday (the most sacred Jewish day of all in which each Jew must atone for his sins, pray and avoid eating and drinking) – the Syrian forces attacking fortifications in the Golan Heights and the Egyptian forces attacking fortifications around the Suez Canal and on the Sinai Peninsula. The troops inflicted heavy casualties on the Israeli army. After three weeks of fighting, though, and with U.S. air-lifted reinforcements of weapons and equipment (first shipment arrived on 9 October 1973), the IDF pushed the Syrian forces beyond the original lines.
In the Golan Heights, small groups of tank commanders such as Avigdor Kahalani managed to hold back dozens of Syrian tanks. By 10 October, the IDF recaptured the entire Golan Heights and on 11 October Israeli armored forces invaded Syria and destroyed the Iraqi reinforcements. On 22 October, the Golani infantry brigade captured Mount Hermon (an important strategic outpost).
In the Sinai Peninsula, Israeli armor was unable to prevent or push back Egyptian infantry crossing the Suez Canal. Most of the fortified Bar Lev Line was captured within the first two days of the war. Subsequent Israeli counterattacks launched by reserve forces arriving to the front were disastrous, and the Israelis were forced to withdraw to a new defensive line. On 14 October, the Israelis repelled a renewed Egyptian attack, and the following day launched their counteroffensive. On 16 October the Israelis crossed the Suez Canal [ citation needed ] and attempted to capture the towns of Ismailia and Suez and to cut off Egyptian supply lines. The Israelis failed to capture either town, but succeeded on 24 October in cutting off the supply lines of the Egyptian Third Army to the south after breaking for a few hours a United Nations ceasefire resolution. The price of the war was heavy. 2,800 Israelis were killed and 9,000 were wounded. About 300 Israeli soldiers were taken captive.  Egyptian and Syrian casualties are estimated at around 15,000 and about 30,000 were wounded. 8,300 Egyptian soldiers and 400 Syrian soldiers were captured.
In Israel, the war caused a public outrage, forcing the government to appoint an investigation commission. The Agranat Commission found serious flaws in the functioning of the intelligence forecasting branch, which failed to foresee the war and ignored various warnings. The Chief of Staff, David Elazar ("Dado") resigned after harsh criticism by the commission. Although the commission praised Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir on her leadership during the war, she resigned following the war and was replaced by Yitzhak Rabin.
Until 1974, the IDF was countering Syrian and Egyptian attacks meant to weaken IDF posts on the border and force the Israeli government to withdraw. However, the IDF managed to sustain low casualties. The IDF reprisal strikes on the Egyptians and Syrians inflicted heavy casualties. After international negotiations in 1974, the attacks stopped.
Following the French embargo and the U.S. air-lift of supplies, weapons and ammunition, the IDF started to base itself upon American and Israeli made weapons and technologies. The American M16 assault rifle entered service along with the Galil assault rifle – an Israeli variant of the Soviet AK-47. M14 were issued as sniper rifles along with surplus of M1 Carbines given to the Police.
In those years the IDF invested most of its efforts in countering international terror, such as the Munich Massacre, committed by the PLO following its deportion from Jordan to Lebanon in the "Black September" of 1970. The PLO focused mainly on hijacking airlines and kidnapping and its terrorists hijacked several commercial airline flights.
In 1976, a group of PLO terrorist hijacked an airliner with 83 Israeli passengers and held them hostages in the Entebbe airport in Uganda. Israeli elite SF unit – Sayeret Matkal – went on a complex hostages-rescue operation and managed to save 80 of the passengers, with only one soldier lost, the commander, lt. colonel Yonatan Netanyahu, the elder brother of Benjamin Netanyahu. The operation, officially called Operation Johnathan but widely referred to as Operation Entebbe, is regarded by military experts as one of the brightest and most successful covert operations ever conducted.
In those years the IAF received a new generation of warplanes. In 1977 the first F-15 Eagle American warplanes arrived in Israel and only a year later, they logged their first kill in the world when IAF F-15s shot down Syrian MiG (Mikoyan-Gurevich) fighters. In 1980 the F-16 Fighting Falcon arrived and the model's first aerial kill was also credited to the Israeli Air Force.
Because of waves of terrorist attacks (most notable is the road massacre of 37 civilians) coming from the PLO in Lebanon, the IDF undertook Operation Litani, a wide-ranging and thorough anti-terrorist operation that included occupying part of Southern Lebanon in 1978.
In 1979 the first Israeli-made Merkava Mk1 main battle tank entered service. The tank was fully developed and manufactured by Israel and exceeded the enemies' tanks in every parameter. It first saw active service in Lebanon and proved to be a great success.
In 1979 the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed, when Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat agreed on peace in return for Israel returning the entire Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. The peace agreement, still valid today, closed the bitter southern front and let the IDF focus on the raging northern border.
In 1981 the Israeli Air Force destroyed Iraq's Osiraq nuclear reactor. The Israeli government suspected that the Iraqis would use the nuclear reactor to build atomic weapons (WMD). On 7 June, four F-16 fighters, covered by F-15 jets, flew 1,100 km to Iraq from Israel, and bombed the nuclear reactor, thus, thwarting the Iraqi nuclear program and severely holding back the Iraqi plans for getting a nuclear bomb.
On 6 June 1982, following an assassination attempt against its ambassador in London by the Abu Nidal Organization, Israeli forces under direction of Defense Minister Ariel Sharon invaded southern Lebanon in their "Operation Peace for the Galilee". They eventually reached as far north as the capital Beirut in an attempt to drive the PLO forces out of the country.
In 1987 a revolt erupted in the Palestinian territories, leading to the Oslo Accords.
Although the Israelis did succeed in driving the PLO from Beirut and out of Lebanon, they had to remain within southern Lebanon for the next 18 years to secure a buffer zone between other terrorist groups supported by Syria operating in Lebanon and Israel. In 2000, in response to a UN resolution calling for this buffer zone to be maintained by the Lebanese government, and for the Syria to end its occupation of Lebanon, Israel withdrew its troops.
Although Syria eventually withdrew from Lebanon, it maintained its influence via Hezbollah who continued to attack Northern Israel long after the withdrawal had been certified by UNIFL. Four years later, the UN passed resolution 1559 calling for disarming Hezbollah. The failure of the Lebanese government to do so has led to the strengthening of Hezbollah's militants and to the building of an immense arsenal of 13,000 rockets all aimed at civilian centers within Israel.
The rocket attacks by Hezbollah continued unabated for the next two years, and it was these attacks coupled with the incursion of Hezbollah militants into Northern Israel to kill and kidnap IDF soldiers that led to the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.
After the abduction of an Israeli soldier by Hamas on 25 June, the IDF began an air and ground campaign in the Gaza Strip to get back their kidnapped soldier, and end the fire of rockets onto Israeli territory.
At 9:05 am on 12 July Hezbollah's military wing staged a cross-border attack on two Israeli Humvees. The attacks came two weeks after the beginning of the Gaza-focused Operation Summer Rains. Eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two were captured. Later on 12 July Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the captures an "act of war" warranting a "severe and harsh response" and threatened to "turn Lebanon's clock back 20 years." In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a military offensive into Lebanon. In the following days, hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah increased to a point of both parties exchanging tough rhetoric and escalating into deadly military campaigns. Israel proceeded by destroying energy and transportation infrastructure throughout Lebanon, focusing on highway infrastructure initially claiming they were trying to prevent the kidnapped soldiers from being removed to Iran. Israeli sources later justified their assault on the infrastructure claiming the roads and airports are used to transport the missiles launched from southern Lebanon toward Israeli civilian population centers. After several days of Israeli attacks Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared an "open war" with Israel.
IDF Special Operations took place within the borders of Lebanon. On 22 July Israeli troops in large numbers moved into Lebanon to demolish Hezbollah outposts, and diminish Hezbollah missile capabilities.
How Ramadan Works
During Ramadan, Muslims practice sawm, or fasting. Of course, no one is required to fast for an entire month. The practice of fasting during Ramadan means that Muslims may not eat or drink anything including water while the sun is shining. Fasting is one of the five pillars or duties of Islam. As with most other religious practices in Islam, Muslims participate in the fast from the age of 12.
One of the most important aspects of the Ramadan fast is called niyyah. Niyyah literally means "intention." Muslims must not simply or accidentally abstain from food they must achieve the requirement of niyyah. To achieve this requirement, a Muslim must "intend in heart that [the fast] is meant to be a worship for Allah alone." So, if someone fasts for political or dietary reasons, he would not achieve niyyah. In fact, according to scripture, "Whoever does not make niyyah before dawn, would not have fasted." The determination to fast is equal in importance to the fast itself.
In much of the Muslim world, restaurants are closed during the daylight hours of Ramadan. Families wake up early, before the sun rises, and eat a meal called sohour. After the sun sets, the fast is broken with a meal called iftar. Iftar often begins with eating dates and sweet drinks to give fasting Muslims a quick energy boost, and it is a rich meal. It can include any type of food, but the dessert almost always includes konafa or qattayef. Konafa is a cake made of wheat, sugar, honey, raisins and nuts. Qatayef is a similar cake, but it is smaller and is folded to encase the nuts and raisins. In between the two meals, the night-time iftar and the pre-dawn sohour, Muslims can eat freely.
Fasting is so important to Muslims for a number of reasons. First, when you are not paying attention to your mortal needs such as food, you may be able to become more in tune with God and your spiritual side. Also, the fast serves to remind Muslims of the suffering of the poor. This idea reinforces the importance of charity during Ramadan.
Fasting gives Muslims an opportunity to practice self-control and cleanse the body and mind. Many cultures and religions use fasting for this purpose. During Ramadan, fasting helps Muslims with their spiritual devotion as well as in developing a feeling of kinship with other Muslims.
As the history goes, Ramadan is the month in which Allah contacted the prophet, Mohammed, to give him the verses of the holy book, or Qu'ran. As such, praying during Ramadan is especially important. Muslims say nightly prayers whether it is Ramadan or not, but the taraweeh, or Ramadan nightly prayer, carries additional weight.
According to scripture, "Whoever observes night prayer in Ramadan as an expression of his faith and to seek reward from Allah, his previous sins will be blotted out." Thus, the Ramadan nightly prayer, after a day of fasting, serves the purpose of eradicating the sins that have been previously committed. In this way, the nightly prayer is an important element of the rituals of Ramadan.
At the end of Ramadan and before the breaking of the fast, Muslims say takbeer. The takbeer is a statement indicating there is nothing in the world that is bigger or greater than Allah. Takbeer is always said when a Muslim completes an important task, as in the completion of the fast of Ramadan.
Translated, the takbeer exclaims, "Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, and Allah is greatest. Allah is the Greatest and all praise is due to Allah." It is recommended that men say the takbeer out loud and women say it silently. Takbeer is a sign that the festivities of Eid Al-Fitr have begun. It is a joyful statement of faith and accomplishment.
Ramadan (Arabic: رَمَضَان , romanized: Ramaḍān [ra.ma.dˤaːn] ), [a] also spelled Ramazan, Ramzan, Ramadhan or Ramathan, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar,  observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (sawm), prayer, reflection and community.  A commemoration of Muhammad's first revelation,  the annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam  and lasts twenty-nine to thirty days, from one sighting of the crescent moon to the next.  
- : Ramazan : রমজান , romanized:Romzan / Romjan : رمضان , romanized:Ramazan : रमज़ान , romanized:Ramzan : ڕەمەزان , romanized:Remezan : روژه , romanized:Rozha : Rabadaan or Rabmadaan : Ramazan : رمضان , romanized:Ramzan : Remezan : Ramazani
- (fasting) and sadaqah (alms giving)
- Commemorating Nights of al-Qadr
- reading the Quran
- abstaining from all bad deeds and staying humble prayer (Sunni Muslims)
Fasting from dawn to sunset is fard (obligatory) for all adult Muslims who are not acutely or chronically ill, travelling, elderly, breastfeeding, diabetic, or menstruating.  The predawn meal is referred to as suhur, and the nightly feast that breaks the fast is called iftar.   Although fatwas have been issued declaring that Muslims who live in regions with a midnight sun or polar night should follow the timetable of Mecca,  it is common practice to follow the timetable of the closest country in which night can be distinguished from day.   
The spiritual rewards (thawab) of fasting are believed to be multiplied during Ramadan.  Accordingly, Muslims refrain not only from food and drink, but also tobacco products, sexual relations, and sinful behavior,   devoting themselves instead to salat (prayer) and recitation of the Quran.  
Local Memorial Day observances
Brookline: Ceremonies at Walnut Hills Cemetery on May 31 start at 9 a.m., and then continue on to the Walnut Street Cemetery for a ceremony conducted by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Town Hall ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. This year again due to the ongoing pandemic and to keep everyone safe, we will not be providing bus transportation to the cemeteries, conducting the procession leading into the main ceremony or the collation after ceremonies.
Burlington: Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. on May 31 at Chestnut Hill Cemetery. There will be representation from the Allied Veterans Council, police and fire department honor guard, Scout troops and representatives from other veterans&rsquo service organizations. The guest speaker is Jeremy Brooks, a U.S. Air Force veteran, who deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Billerica: This year&rsquos parade will be held on May 31, and will step off from Marshall Middle School, 15 Floyd St., at 10 a.m. The parade runs down Boston Road and ends outside the town center. There will be a flag placement ceremony at Fox Hill Cemetery, 130 Andover Road, prior to the parade at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 29. Residents are instructed to take American flags from boxes that will be located around the cemetery and place them on military gravesites. The parade will culminate in a ceremony at Billerica Public Library, 15 Concord Road.
Dedham: On May 30 at 9 a.m., there will be a Service of Remembrance at St. Mary&rsquos of the Assumption Church, 420 High St. Following the Mass, there will be a brunch at the American Legion, 155 Eastern Ave.
Dover: Everyone is welcome to join us at this year&rsquos Memorial Day celebration on May 30 at 4 p.m. This year&rsquos program will look different: the ceremony will take place on the lawn side of the Town Hall, which will provide us with plenty of room to follow distancing guidelines, and there will be no cookout following the ceremony. Please bring your own lawn chairs or blankets so you can sit with your family while following distancing. Scouts should dress in uniform so they can be recognized while sitting with their family.
Hudson: There will be no parade this year. Instead, there will be a small ceremony on May 31 at 10 a.m. in front of Town Hall.
Kingston: The annual Kingston Memorial Day will kick off at 10 a.m. May 31 at the WWII War Memorial, across from Cancun Family Mexican Restaurant, 145 Main St. It will proceed onto Landing Road, Main Street, Green Street and Evergreen Street. The event will end with a ceremony on Town Hall lawn. All veterans are invited to participate by marching or riding along the parade route in provided transportation. Contact the Veterans&rsquo Services Department at 781-585-0515.
Lincoln: A Memorial Day celebration and Medal of Liberty ceremony will take place from 9 a.m.-noon May 31 at Pierce House, 17 Weston Road, Lincoln.
Lincoln&rsquos Veterans Service Officer Peter Harvell developed a plan to identify soldiers and sailors from Lincoln, Sudbury and a few other communities who had been killed in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Medals of Liberty will be awarded to their Gold Star Families during the Memorial Day event.
Sixteen soldiers and sailors were identified, and as many immediate remaining family members were invited. Each Gold Star Family will receive Senate citations from Rep. Katherine Clark. Sen. Michael Barrett will offer comments, and Rep. Thomas Stanley will also be in attendance.
The Lincoln and Sudbury Fire Departments will exhibit two ladder trucks with ladders raised supporting a large flag, the Lincoln Minutemen will fire their muskets, the Concord Cannons will fire their two 19th century cannons, and a bugler will play taps.
Medfield: On Memorial Day, there will be an observance beginning at 11 a.m. at Vine Lake Cemetery at the Legion Lot, by the flagpole, in section D1. In addition, Medfield TV will broadcast a Memorial Day program beginning at 10 a.m.
Medway: The Memorial Committee&rsquos sponsored observance of Memorial Day will be live streamed via Medway Cable Access on its Facebook page. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Included in the ceremony this year is recognition of Grand Marshal David Lambirth, introduction of the newly created Space Force and raising of its flag. There is no parade this year.
Melrose: This Memorial Day, Mayor Paul Brodeur, The Melrose Veterans&rsquo Advisory Board and the Melrose Veterans&rsquo Services Office will invite the public to join them in honoring, remembering and respecting the sacrifices made by the men and women of the military.
The traditional decoration of the graves and retiring of the flags will take place at 10 a.m. May 29 at Wyoming Cemetery.
The Melrose Memorial Day Ceremony will be at 10 a.m. May 30 at the Knoll, Lynn Fells Parkway &mdash across the street from the Melrose Veterans&rsquo Memorial Middle School. Following the ceremony at the Knoll, they will proceed to the Vietnam Memorial on Main Street and then continue on to the Honor Roll to conclude the day&rsquos observances. Note this is the opposite order of how they have started and ended the ceremony in previous years. Due to the pandemic they will not be starting the day with a coffee social. Please remember to wear a mask and maintain social distancing during the ceremony.
For information, contact the Veterans&rsquo Services Office at 781-979-4186.
Milford: The following events will take place on May 31:
8 a.m. -- free breakfast for veterans at the Italian Vets, 4 Hayward Field
9 a.m. -- the traditional Memorial Day Ceremony at the Italian American Veterans Memorial
10 a.m. -- in lieu of traditional Memorial Day parade, there will be a townwide Memorial Day Ceremony at Calzone Park (the Doughboy Statue) to honor all the men and women from Milford who have sacrificed so much and are no longer with us, but live on in our hearts and minds. The ceremony will include a student soloist and trumpeter and a solemn salute to our fallen.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, all in attendance are invited to a meet and greet with the veterans in attendance and ask any questions they might be curious about.
There will also be a tent set up by Vietnam the 50th Massachusetts to award lapel pins, authorized by the United States government, to any eligible Vietnam era veterans. To qualify for this award, you must have been honorably discharged and have your dates of service fall between Nov. 1, 1955, and May 15, 1975.
From 2-4 p.m., the Memorial Hall Museum will be open for anyone interested in town history.
Millis: A public ceremony will be held at the Veterans Memorial Building (Town Hall), 900 Main St., on May 31 to remember and honor those who died in service of the United States. The ceremony from 10-11 a.m. will be located outdoors in the front of the building by the memorials.
The ceremony will include prayer, town and state proclamations, Veterans Services officer speech, wreath laying, necrology (reading of Millis veterans who passed away during the year), &ldquoTaps&rdquo and the national anthem.
Natick: Memorial Day observances on May 31.
9 a.m. &ndash gather at the Community-Senior Center parking lot, 117 East Central St.
9:20 a.m. &ndash vehicles line up and depart for Glenwood (South Natick) and St. Patrick&rsquos cemeteries
10:30 a.m. &ndash Natick Praying Indians service at Indian Burial Grounds, Pond Street
11 a.m. &ndash Sons of the American Revolution prayer service for Alexander Quapish, native American Revolutionary War veteran)
11:30 a.m. &ndash services at Natick Common
Participants are invited to come to the AMVETS off Speen Street for lunch afterwards.
Norwood: Volunteers are needed at Highland Cemetery to place new flags on veterans&rsquo graves on May 29 at 8 a.m. Please call the Veterans office at 781-762-1240, ext. 6063, with any questions. Due to COVID, the Memorial Day services will be virtual again this year. Norwood Public Access TV will run program at 11 a.m. Memorial Day, May 31.
Provincetown: The annual Memorial Day observance will be held at 11 a.m. on May 31 at Motta Field, 25 Winslow St. Provincetown Police, Fire and EMS personnel, along with representatives from Coast Guard Station Provincetown, will join members of the community continuing the Provincetown tradition of honoring members of the armed forces who gave their lives in the service to our country. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion are honored guests.
This year, in accord with current recommendations due to the pandemic, we will hold a modified ceremony. The public is invited to attend and will be required to follow social distancing and face mask protocol if not vaccinated.
Randolph: Town Manager Brian Howard, Director of Veterans&rsquo Services Kevin J. Cook and the Randolph Veterans&rsquo Council recently announced the town of Randolph Memorial Day weekend ceremonies.
The schedule is as follows:
&bull 8 a.m.-noon May 27: Flags and flowers will be planted on veterans&rsquo graves at St. Mary&rsquos & Central Cemetery by residents, students from Randolph Public Schools and sailors from the USS Constitution who have volunteered to be part of the town&rsquos remembrance of fallen veterans. Interested parties should reach out to Cook to volunteer.
&bull 10 a.m. May 30. The Randolph Veterans' Council has arranged for a Veterans Service at First Congregational Church in Randolph, UCC, 1 South Main St.
&bull Noon May 30: A ceremony will be held at Oakland Cemetery.
&bull 1 p.m. May 30: A ceremony at Lindwood Memorial Park, 490 North St., will be held in remembrance of Jewish veterans.
&bull 10 a.m. May 31: The town will hold the Memorial Day ceremony in front of Town Hall, 41 South Main St. The featured speaker will be Professor James Holmes from the Newport Naval War College.
All ceremonies will be outside and attendees are asked to practice proper social distancing.
For more information, email [email protected] or call 617-251-7677.
Sherborn: At 10 a.m. on Monday, May 31, a Memorial Day Dedication will be held at Pine Hill Cemetery in full compliance with the requirements of the coronavirus situation. We encourage the participation of all veterans and ask for the support of all residents as we remember those that have sacrificed their lives for us.
All attendees, including members of the Dover-Sherborn High School band, are asked to proceed directly up Cemetery Lane to Pine Hill for the presentations. Vehicle transportation will be provided for those wishing to ride.
For additional information, please contact Mike Kickham at 508 655-4607 or 508 314 1570.
Walpole: Observances will take place the Town Common on May 31 starting at noon.
Waltham: May 30 &ndash John M. Sullivan Memorial Service, 9 a.m., corner of Lincoln and Lake streets Veterans&rsquo Memorial church service, 11 a.m., Our Lady&rsquos Church, 920 Trapelo Road (possible outside Mass, bring chairs) May 31 &ndash Gold Star Mothers&rsquo Memorial 9 a.m., Prospect Street Bridge Memorial Day services, 10 a.m., Waltham Common (meet at the City Hall parking lot on Elm Street at 9:30 a.m.).
Watertown: Observances will take place on May 31 at Victory Field, 40 Orchard St., from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Wayland: The ceremony, hosted by the Wayland Public Ceremonies Committee, will be held outside (rain or shine) at 11 a.m. on May 31 at Lakeview Cemetery, 80 Commonwealth Road &ndash Route 30. The parade has been canceled due ongoing pandemic restrictions.
The ceremony, remembering and honoring those who have died in service to our nation, will begin with welcoming remarks by Richard P. Turner, USN Ret., chair of the Public Ceremonies Committee, followed by an invocation. The keynote address will be given by retiring Wayland High School History Department Head and treasured local historian Kevin Delaney.
The national anthem will be performed by Victoria Gitten. The Wayland High School and Middle School bands will pay tribute with patriotic music followed by echo &ldquoTaps&rdquo and a rifle salute by the American Legion Post #133.
We invite those unable to attend in person to view the recorded ceremony on WayCAM.
Westwood: The town is planning a Memorial Day Observances on May 31 at 10 a.m. in the New Westwood Cemetery. The town will have several guest speakers and a Gold Star Mother in attendance and will follow all social distance guidelines. Residents who would like to attend the event should park at the Thurston Middle School parking lot or the Saint Margaret Mary Church parking lot. There will not be any parking allowed in the cemetery.
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the town will not be holding a Memorial Day parade in 2021. If there is a forecast of inclement weather for May 31, the town will post any updates to the town website.
Fasting, feasting: The colourful traditions of Ramadan in Australia and around the world
An estimated one in four people around the world are believed to be observing Ramadan in some form and as it now comes to an end, Muslims are looking forward to Eid al-Fitr. We asked SBS Language editors and producers to reflect on their own countries' customs, many of which are continued here in Australia.
Australia's 600,000 Muslims have originated from more than 70 countries around the world.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed globally by an estimated 1.8 billion people, as a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, prayer, personal reflection and community. It lasts 29-30 days, from one sighting of the crescent moon to the next.
It's followed by Eid al-Fitr or "Festival of Breaking the Fast", celebrating the end of the month-long fasting. The three-day celebration starts with Muslims praying together and is also an occasion for families to get together and eat traditional foods only made during Eid.
With over 300 ethnic groups and 700 regional languages, people across Indonesia’s archipelago welcome the holy month of Ramadan in their own ways. Some have been maintained in Australia.
Nyorog – Jakarta - Betawi people, the natives of Jakarta, have their own tradition related to the holy month. Nyorog is a tradition observed to strengthen ties between family members.
Padusan – Central Java Tengah - People usually perform ceremonies for bathing or bathing in wells and springs considered sacred. Padusan means that the soul and body of a person who is going to perform fasting are physically and mentally cleansed. Today, most people do it in their own homes.
Bagarakan Sahur - South Kalimantan - The tradition usually involves young people performing rhythmic sounds from everyday items such as cans and bottles to wake the people for their pre-dawn meal.
Festival Ela-Ela – Ternate - People of Ternate burn torches on certain nights of Ramadan. It's the belief that angels are descending from heaven, so the torches are lit to light the angels' way. Resin is also burnt to perfume the air.
Ricky Onggokusumo - Executive Producer, SBS Indonesian
China has a large Muslim population – around 1.6 per cent of the total population, or around 22 million people.
There are ten ethnic minority groups in China that are Muslim, including Hui, Uyghur, Kazakh, Dongxiang, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Salar, Tajik, Bonan and Tatar.
According to Brother Yayah, a Chinese Hui Muslim who lives in Sydney, Ramadan is a busy time for Muslims. People invite family relatives and friends to their home to enjoy Iftar meals because they believe by doing so, they can share the blessing from that day with them.
The Islamic month of Ramadan is usually a time for families to get together, but for international students living away from home like Harry Dong, it presents a time to congregate, fast and pray with his “brothers and sisters” in Australia.
As a member of the Islamic Society of UNSW, he heads to the university’s Religious Centre every day after sunset to pray and enjoy an Iftar meal with other Muslim students and staff.
One of these favourite things during Ramadan is they can enjoy food from a different culture as they are donated by Muslim communities from different backgrounds.
Juncheng Guo, Producer, SBS Chinese
There are a few Ramadan essentials on every dinner table. Firstly, no Ramadan table can do without “Ramazan pide,” a plain flatbread that is only sold during Ramadan.
People usually buy it just before iftar so that it's nice and warm. You can’t buy it in the morning. I still don’t understand why bakers don’t sell “Ramadan pide” 365 days of the year.
There is also “Güllaç,” a dessert made from milk, pomegranate and a special kind of pastry. It is like baclava, as it is made from layers of pastry but texture-wise it is more like a pudding.
Some believe it is the precursor of baclava and if that’s so, I believe baclava is a definite improvement. Both are made by many members of the Australian Turkish community during Ramadan.
In Turkey, many people call Eid al-Fitr, Sugar Bayram. As it comes after a month of fasting, many people eat plenty of candy. Of course, it is for children especially.
It is a custom for children to go around knocking on the doors to collect candy, like trick and treat on Halloween, without the costumes. Usually, children wear their best clothes (Bayram cloths).
If you ever wondered how people got up for sahur in the middle of the night in the age before alarm clocks, wonder no more. In Turkey, your friendly neighbourhood drummer got up and made sure that all those fasting had their stomachs full before dawn.
These days, the rhythmic beat of this very percussive tradition can be heard throughout the country, from Istanbul to the smallest village. In large cities, they are seen as a mix between an ancient ritual that needs to be preserved and a nuisance.
Still, all the obstacles the modern age can muster, the drummers bang on…
Nejat Basar - Executive Producer, SBS Turkish
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
In Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and some other cities from the 18th century the cannon fire from the Yellow Fortress (Zuta Tabija in Sarajevo) marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.
The firing of cannons from hills above the cities is a centuries-old tradition of Bosnian Muslims during Ramadan and marks as well the end of each fasting day - time for iftar. Usually, during this ceremony, the cannoneer is wearing traditional clothes.
And one of the favourite iftar dish during Ramadan is Sarajevska topa, which consists of different kind of melted cheese and eggs.
It's eaten with lepinja (special during Ramadan small, tiny bread with black seed on the top). During the iftar "topa" is usually served as an appetizer.
Aisa Hadziahmetovic, Producer, SBS Bosnian
Celebrate Sierra Leone Eid Al-Fitr - via SBS Food
I remember one of the most famous Ramadan rituals, in Amman, Jordan, was going to the bakery with mum to buy the most famous dessert’s dough (Katayef) and take it home and stuff some with cream, cheese, and others with nuts.
We used to queue in a very long line to get them fresh, warm and fluffy.
My favourite one was made with Cream. Nuts and cheese Katayef often needs to be deep-fried and then dipped in sugar syrup before eating.
We used to make tens of those, to eat them after Iftar, with Arabic blonde coffee (mostly known in Saudi Arabia) until you can’t fit any of it in your tummy anymore.
Maram Ismail, Producer, Arabic24
Afghans have a custom of sharing a plate of food with neighbours for breaking the fast. The elderly will break their fast in the mosque and take a plate of food to share with others.
In Sydney, on my street, some of the houses are decorated with lights for Ramadan and I have also decorated my house only to give the kids a sense of celebration and belonging.
In Afghan customs the elder the more respected the person becomes. We also give money (Eidana) to the kids.
Abdullah Alikhil - Executive Editor, SBS Pashto
Iftar gatherings, charity Iftar and free meals campaigns are run by many Pakistani community groups throughout Australia during Ramadan.
The late evening festivity of Chand Raat marks the end of Ramadan and very popular among Pakistanis and equally celebrated by Australian Pakistanis.
Once the Eid moon is seen at the end of Ramadan, women flock to markets to buy colourful bangles and ornaments to match their outfits. They decorate their hands with henna to celebrate Eid.
Ramadan night cricket tournaments are very popular amongst youngsters.
When worshipers filled the mosques and streets are empty on Ramadan night, streets are lit up, teams gather at street venues and night cricket matches start and end just before Sehri (the last moments of eating before fasting begins).
Rehan Alavi - Executive Producer, SBS Urdu
In the south Indian state of Kerala, which has a long history of Islam starting with the building of the first mosque in India in the 7 th century AD by Malik bin Dinar – one of the companions of Prophet Mohammed - the last day of the Holy month of Ramadan is marked by colourful celebrations and firecrackers.
Mehndi – or henna – is the main part of the celebrations.
Women and children from the extended family group get together and decorate palms and hands with henna after breaking fast on the last day of the Ramadan month.
Even though henna is a part of Eid celebrations in many other countries, Muslims in Kerala have created unique henna designs over time adapting to the Indian culture and other local festivals.
This marks the beginning of Eid celebrations. Boys and men in the family join the celebrations with firecrackers.
It is followed by sharing gifts – in the form of clothes, toys or monetary gifts.
The Kerala Muslim community groups in Australia follow these celebrations here in full spirit.
Deeju Sivadas - Executive Producer, SBS Malayalam
Ramadan plays an exceptional role in Iranian traditions and customs. People rise early before the dawn to have a pre-fast breakfast, called “Sahari” in Persian. The meal is usually light and normally consists of previously prepared foods.
The more elaborate meal comes at the end of the fasting day called “Iftar”. Iftar, if possible, is consumed with other close members of the family clan, friends and neighbours.
Fantastic stews, sweets, fresh dates, traditional Azari cheese with vegetables and nuts accompanied with a glass of tea to wash them down are what you can find on any dinner table in Iran during Ramadan.
Even if you are not fasting, you are not allowed to eat and drink in public from sunrise to sunset. So, if you travel to Iran during Ramadan, you should be aware of this rule, otherwise, you will be caught by police.
Instead, the nightlife during Holy Month is quite fascinating. All coffee shops, restaurants, and even cinemas would start working from the evening. The whole city witnesses a lively atmosphere all through the night and does not sleep!
The last 10 days of Ramadan are especially important because the Quran was revealed in this month at the Night of Decree (Laylat al-Qadr)
Here is the meaning behind some of the most common traditions in a Muslim marriage ceremony.
Some couples mind the moon when setting a wedding date.
Although debated and a bit arcane for many modern couples, there are some Islam devotees who won&rsquot marry on days that have been deemed ominous by some accounts of Muhammad the Prophet. This tradition is known as al-qamar fil aqrab. These dates include Wednesdays, the last few days of a lunar cycle and when the moon is in Scorpio. More commonly, dates set aside in the Islamic calendar to mourn for religious tragedies are also to be avoided.
Gender separation has both cultural and religious legal roots.
It&rsquos common for a Muslim marriage ceremony to have total gender separation, not unlike Orthodox Jewish wedding ceremonies. Wedding receptions for practicing Muslim couples also frequently feature some level of gender separation, particularly among traditional or Orthodox members of the faith. The dividers may either be a physical barrier (men and women are seated in different rooms for the festivities, for example) or ensuring men and women don&rsquot sit at the same tables, or placing a partition down the middle of the reception venue, or some other variation that prevents men and women mingling.
Some Muslim spiritual texts are interpreted to instruct women and men to occupy different areas in places of worship, while it is also commonly believed that women and men prayed separately during Muhammad the Prophet&rsquos lifetime. Gender separation in Muslim communities endured in the following 14 centuries and remains common at religious events, like a Muslim wedding ceremony.
The Nikah is the heart of the Muslim marriage ceremony, but there are other important traditions many couples include.
Nikah is a sacred and binding commitment between the couple to follow Islamic law during their marriage. Imams, Islamic faith leaders, must officiate the ceremonies, which are very short and follow a few prescriptive steps.
Mahr is a mandatory gift from the groom to the bride. It&rsquos not a dowry as it is to be used by the bride as she wishes (as opposed to her family). Some modern couples include the engagement ring as part of the gift, then the groom gives his bride a symbolic gift on the wedding day.
Nikah-Namah is a social contract between the couple, which is read in Arabic at the wedding. It&rsquos a detailed document that is referred to in the event of divorce, so some couples will elect to have input in this contract. The couple signs this in front of their wedding guests.
Fatihah is the first chapter of the Koran and is often read as part of the wedding ceremony sermon. After the Fatihah is read, it is the end of the formal wedding and the couple is considered married.
Savaqah is a joyous recessional tradition of showering the bride with coins as the couple exits the mosque.
Tanker reunites with 'old beast from 1955'
Photo By Robert Timmons | The M41A1 Walker Bulldog light tanks from the 27th Armored Division's (New York National Guard), 208th Tank Battalion sits outside the Basic Combat Training Museum on Fort Jackson. A retiree recently found it was the same tank he crewed in the 1950s. see less | View Image Page
FORT JACKSON, SC, UNITED STATES
Story by Robert Timmons
Fort Jackson Public Affairs Office
William Campbell knows a lot about tanks. He has volunteered with museums on Fort Jackson and most recently the South Carolina National Guard Museum where he helped restore tracked vehicles. His volunteer work would bring him in close contact with the tanks outside the Basic Combat Training Museum on post.
It wasn’t until a chance encounter with a particular tank brought back a flood of memories to Campbell. A M41A1 tank looked familiar, Campbell said after he noticed the vehicle following Fort Jackson’s Memorial Day Ceremony at Centennial Park. The park is located directly across the street from museum.
The M41, christened the “Walker Bulldog” after Gen. Walton Walker, was a light tank used in reconnaissance missions, but never saw combat with U.S. forces.
The numbers painted on the light tank were eerily similar to ones on the vehicle Campbell worked on while a young Soldier in the 1950s. In fact, they were the exact same. Not only were they the same numbers, it was actually the same tank he served in – Vehicle 11, Headquarters, Services Company 208th Tank Battalion, in the 27th Armored Division of the New York National Guard.
It was “shock” for Campbell to see it he said. “I said no, it’s normally just any 41 they brought in and put and a number on it.” He went and checked with Henry Howe the BCT Museum curator “and he said, ‘no that’s on the paperwork when they brought the thing in here.’”
“I said this is my old beast in 1955,” Campbell said.
“I joined the National Guard in February 1955 and this tank Headquarters Service 11 I was assigned to in 1955,” Campbell said.
Howe said the museum acquires “our vehicle (macro artifacts) through the Tank and Automotive Command. On occasion, we can receive them through the Center of Military History. Normally, those are the older vehicles.” And with some of the artifacts paperwork backs up the lineage.
The M41 sits near a UH-1 helicopter that is painted like it was during its service in the Vietnam War.
“In the 20-years I have been with the museum, this is the second time someone has recognized a specific vehicle they have operated or flew,” Howe said. “The other time was the UH-1 Huey Helicopter.”
The last time Campbell remembered seeing the tank was when he drove it during an Armed Forces Day parade in downtown Syracuse, New York. He would see the vehicle for years cleaning it up and restoring it before the realization set in.
As he and some trainees cleaned it, he “never dreamed that was my old tank.”
Seeing the vehicle’s numbers brought a flood of fond memories, Campbell said.
“He was a very good tank,” he said. “He was loud. He was a gas hog and it was loud. You could hear it coming a mile away. But it was fast.”
For Howe helping people remember the past is a part of his mission he cherishes.
“I think an enduring role of any museum is to help people reminisce and recall events of their past,” he said. “In Bill's case, the M41 was able to connect with his early days in the Army, nearly 70 years ago.”