After the somber observance of yesterday's memorial events for Israel's fallen soldiers and police – It is Israeli Independence Day here in Israel.
Throughout the night bands played to revelers gathered for public concerts who took in multiple fireworks displays.
Here in Jerusalem there was a bit of a lull from 1:30 am until 4:00 am when the bands kicked it up again ensuring that few would sleep in the holy city.
The blue and white Israeli flags are flying all over the country – with many people out at ceremonies and hitting the parks for bar-b-ques on this warm overcast day.
It was 66 years ago in Tel Aviv that Israel declared it's Independence after the end of the British Mandate.
The official ceremonies kicked of on Mount Herzl with a torch lighting ceremony.
The official celebration this year took on a different twist, prominently portraying the role of women in Israeli society in what is usually a male dominated event due to the day's military focus.
In the air, Israeli Air Force jets flew across the major metropolitan areas of the State – including Jerusalem's Old City – in fact directly overhead of me…
Back on the ground, President Shimon Peres, who was one of the men who helped bring about the state's existence in 1948, attended his last ceremony in the official post as President of the country focused his words a bit on the past and a bit on the present.
Summing up his seven years in Israel's highest political office Mr. Peres said: “I hope I helped to bring more unity, more parity, more understanding”, calling Israel's existence a miracle in many respects.
The elder statesman continued by looking ahead to the country's future which, if one looks past the often fatalistic predictions of doom, looks quite energetic and prosperous for years to come.
Middle East Correspondent