Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the US.
Just a few weeks ago Liberation Day, Bevrijdingsdag, was remembered in the Netherlands. They recognize the sacrifice of foreign soldiers who defeated the German occupiers in World War II.
Near Maastricht, 8,301 American soldiers are buried. They fell in “Operation Market Garden” in the battles to liberate Holland in the fall winter of 1944. Every one of the men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemeteries, has been adopted by a Dutch family who mind the grave, decorate it, and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted. It is even the custom to keep a portrait of “their” American soldier in a place of honor in their home.
A concert held in conclusion of the day is ended with “Il Silenzio”. Here is an astounding trumpet solo by a 13 year old Dutch girl from a few years back. It’s very moving. See it at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2n7ad4
Tomorrow it is also good to remember what happened almost 240 years ago. On November 16 a Dutch fort in the West Indies saluted the Andrew Doria a warship flying the colors of our Continental Congress. Dutch courageously supported the birth of our new country.
I wonder if there is a celebration of their fallen who died on our behalf. Seems like there should be. You can read more about the Dutch contribution to American independence in “The First Salute”, a classic by Barbara Tuchman.