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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Americans say it with stars and stripes...

Alas I have had to miss Memorial day last week… (it is traditionally celebrated on the last Monday in May)
In the middle of Easter, ascuncion and upcoming pentecost I guess there are already plenty of holidays to take into consideration.

But to be honest I was very sad to have to miss it from the right side of the pond this year. (Still being in exile in the NL and all… sigh)

As a dear friend explained to me via email, I got the following introduction:

“Memorial Day began as Decoration  Day when a group of southern ladies decided to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers. It spread north and when I was young was still known as Decoration Day. Somewhere it became Memorial Day to commemorate those who had died in various wars. The celebration in Cornwall is typical of a small New England town, with a parade having an honor guard, the local sports teams, the local boy scouts and girl scouts, the grammar school band and a procession of fire trucks, followed by the award of a best citizen plaque, a speech, flag raising and finally a church fair. It’s the beginning of the social season and most of the townspeople are there. I hated to miss it this year, but was otherwise engaged.”

The whole episode about firetrucks parading and flags being raised makes it sound so very American.

Dutch say it with flowers...

It reminds me of ‘Dodenherdenking’ in the Netherlands on the 4th of May, commemorating the end of the second world war, but these days it remembers all the fallen in war.
At 8 PM that day all Dutch hold silent for two minutes to commemorate the people that died for our freedom. (may be because I was raised on the Grebbeberg I grew up learning more about this tradition than some others, singing the national anthem to the veterans with the school choir every year etc.)

A new memorial requires a new logo...

Luckily the Netherlands has an extra day of celebrations the day following, called ‘Bevrijdingsdag’ (=Liberation day).Originally this day celebrated the liberation after WWII but recently it has become a day to celebrate freedom in general.

It is a relieving thought that specific war memorials over time give way to general sympathies of love, peace and freedom…

 

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