Monday, May 27, 2013

Because it is Memorial Day ...

Last Friday, I was catching up with my favourite reads in blogland and thanks to Kim of A Very Sweet Blog  I learnt that it is Memorial Day in the US today. I thought this would be a very appropriate day to share some photos I took during a recent visit to the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial. I truly believe that any war is futile and I think it is really important to remember the past and let it teach us useful lessons for the future.


Boyfriend and I had already spotted this memorial a couple of times from the bus and everytime time we passed by we said that it would be interesting to go there some day. Well, it finally happened a couple of weeks ago when he came over to visit me. The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is in Margraten, around 10Km away from Maastricht. It  is open daily and can be reached by car, by bus (Veolia line 50) or by bike. The entrance to the memorial is lined by marble walls with the names of the 8031 military dead buried in the cemetery carved on them. In the middle, a rectangular pool reflects the statue of a mourning woman and there is a small chapel behind it. The chapel was very delicate with tall doors ornated with tree leaves and a big chandelier hanging from the ceiling shaped as a crown. The fields are dotted with lines of headstons and surrounded by blooming trees. It is actually a beautiful sight, if a very sad one.





May is also a month to honour those who lost their lives during WWII in the Netherlands. 4th May is the Remembrance Day (Herdenkingsdag) and 5th May is the Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag). On 4th May there is an official ceremony in Amsterdam attended by members of the government and the royal family and at 8pm two minutes of silence are observed in the whole country and public transport stops as well. During those days many monuments are covered with flowers and flags.

There are hundreds of films about WWII, telling all kind of stories related to this devasting war from every possible point of view. But speaking of the Netherlands and Liberation day there is a recent good Dutch film related to that period by Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven. Black Book (Zwartboek) tells the story of a jewish woman, Rachel, helping the resistence and falling in love with a German commander. Eventually, the resistence is betrayed and Rachel will have to find a way to survive among fake friends and not so bad enemies. Black Book has been chosen as the best Dutch film ever and it features Carice van Houten, the Netherlands' very own sweetheart who seems to star in every Dutch film. She's really everywhere and now she's also part of the cast of Game of Thrones, where she plays the mysterious priestess of the Lord of Light. I like Carice, but that Melisandre character really gives me the creeps!




To all of you in the States, I hope that you had a nice holiday weekend.
Have a lovely day, everyone!

12 comments:

  1. hi Irene!
    This is actually a very interesting post! since I'm in Europe I dont know about US memorial day.. it is actually great to know!
    Those places are so beautiful in their own way.. I can feel the silence and peace..
    Take care and wish you a lovely week!
    xoxo,Meg of Sweet Gala's

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    1. Hi Meg!
      I didn't know about this day either, but that's one of the perks of blogging, getting to know people from so many different places and learning more about the world we live in.

      Have a lovely week, you too :)

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  2. Like Meg, I don't know much about memorial day too. The film looks very interesting. I had no idea the actress behind the priestess' role is a famous star in Netherlands. Have a great week, Irene :)

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    1. It took me a while to recognize her and I think I actually had to google it, but indeed, I would say she's Netherlands' most famous actress!

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  3. Irene, this post was so beautiful! What a gorgeous memorial/cemetery. We have nothing like that here in New Orleans. Only in Washington DC and Virginia. I love the lady mourning statue and reflection pond. I think it's so befitting, tranquil and serene. A fabulous commemoration. My mom lost nearly every guy in her high school class to war. My uncle served. So that is why it's so meaningful to me. Thank you for the mention and I wish you a wonderful week doll. ((hug))
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. Thanks, Kim! I wasn't planning on sharing these photos but when I read about Memorial Day in your blog I thought that might be a good reason to post them.
      It's sad to read that your mum lost almost all her male classmates and that your uncle served, it must have been a terrible time to live. All we can do is hope that such a devasting war will not happen again.

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  4. Uff... se me ponen los pelos de punta con este tema.Una época para recordar y no dejar que vuelva a pasar nunca más. Las películas bélicas me gustan mucho y esta es muy buena. Bsinss, Irene:)

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    1. Ufff, a mí tb me impone mucho respeto este tema y de hecho no pensaba compartir las fotos, pero al final acabaron saliendo.
      Me alegro que te guste la peli, a mí me impactó bastante!

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  5. How cool that you went to go see this in honor of Memorial Day, that's really nice. I had no idea the Netherlands had an American cemetery. And I agree that it's important to pay respects to those who fell in order to not make the same mistakes twice.

    And I am moving from Chicago to Seattle! I didn't find a job there, but I want to go explore a new city for a year or so :D

    xo Marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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    1. I'm glad you appreaciate the post, Marlen!

      I'm not sure but I think that this is not the only American Cemetery in The Netherlands. In any case, I'm sure that there are some other memorials and museums about it because an important part of the final battles were fought here before the Netherlands was liberated.

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  6. That is so nice that you shared this. Such a thoughtful post for this day.

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    1. Thanks, Ashley!
      I was't sure about sharing these photos but when I learnt about Memorial Day I found a good reason to do so and I see that many appreciate it.

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