Wednesday, May 04, 2005


We sat in total silence for two minutes: exactly two minutes of perfect stillness. The faces of the assembled gathering showed sadness, memory, reflection, awe... The sanctity of the moment even stilled the children, and for two minutes we were completely quiet. This moment marked exactly sixty years from the last evening of that terrible war which had ripped out the heart of Holland. Though three generations have matured since those days, the memory of that oppression, starvation, devestation, and death still cloaks the country, more obvious than usual during these two minutes of remembrance. Such sorrow. Such sacrifice.

Laat daarom iedereen zichzelf eert toetsen voordat hij van het brood eet en uit de beker drinkt, want wie eet en drinkt maar niet beseft dat het om het lichaam van de Heer gaat, roept zijn veroordeleing af over zichzelf...

The first chords of the Wilhelmus broke the silence like a pebble cutting through the surface of a glassy-smooth pond. As the anthem swelled, the mood shifted -- ever so slightly -- from remembrance and sorrow to honor and gratitude. Old soldiers stood at attention, proud before their queen and their people. This city, this nation, this world became a much better place because of their willingness to play their role in saving and redeeming the land. Their struggle and sacrifice bought our peace and freedom.

In de nacht waarin de Heer Jezus werd uitgeleverd nam hij een brood, sprak het dankgebed uit, brak het brood en zei: 'Dit is mijn lichaam voor jullie. Doe dit, telkens opnieuw, om mij te gedenken...'

The tragedy, triumph, and symbolism are beautiful. I appreciate the Nederlanders' manner of reflection... not entirely unlike American Memorial Day ceremonies in the Oak Grove Cemetary, with the trumpeted Taps and 21-gun salute. Still, here it's more somber. More of a national sanctuary, and not just a secondary memorial service attended by the local VFW and affiliate clubs, along with some city councilmen and high school band members who are obligated to be there. The Dutch people seem to truly remember. This day is a day purely for remembrance.

Zo nam hij na de maaltijd ook de beker, en hij zei: 'Deze beker is het nieuwe verbond dat door mijn bloed gesloten wordt. Doe dit, telkens als jullie hieruit drinken, om mij te gedenken.'

We know there will be celebration tomorrow. And doubtless there is value and joy in celebration. But today we remember that there is also value in remembrance. In the Netherlands, we observe "Memorial Day" on the 4th of May and "Liberation Day" on the 5th of May. Remembrance leads to celebration. Sacrifice paves the way for freedom. Silence soon succumbs to song.

Dus altijd waneer u dit brood eet en uit de beker drinkt, verkondigt u de dood van de Heer, totdat hij komt (1 Korintiƫrs 11:23-26, 28-29).


At 5:37 PM, Blogger Will said...

"Remembrance leads to celebration. Sacrifice paves the way for freedom. Silence soon succumbs to song."

Quite possibly the most inspiring 3 lines ever read in a blog. Truth knows no greater evidence of this than the world in which we now live. I may have to write a tune to that - with your permission of course! :)


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