The word “herdenkingsdag” literally translates to “memorial day”, and this day is on May 4; it honors and commemorates those who died during WWII and also subsequent conflicts. Given the fact I’m from the US, it was fascinating to see the contrast between the impact WWII had on the Netherlands. The US was mainly not involved with the war until the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and even then we never fought on our own soil. However, the war impacted the Netherlands directly and cities such as Rotterdam were destroyed during that time (reason why Rotterdam looks so modern).
There was a ceremony on the Dam Square where the National Monument is, and various surviving military men gave their respects along with others. This was broadcast live on TV and everyone observed a moment of silence at 20:00. I’ve always felt gratitude towards veterans simply because they choose to protect their country, and regardless of whether war is justified or not, these people have displayed great courage and should be recognized for that.
When I walk the streets of Amsterdam, I can feel the history from those cobblestones and no other place impressed me as much as the Anne Frank House. I’ve been there 3x and each time I am moved to tears. Once you’ve walked through the hidden bookcase, history unfolds in front of your eyes and you can’t help but imagine what it was like to live during such a terrifying time.
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