Today is the 4th of May. Here in the land of wooden shoes and windmills, we commemorate all civilians and members of the armed forces who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II.
My Dutch grandmother lived in Rotterdam during World War II. She was 16 when the Germans bombarded her hometown. Food was hard to come by in that time. My grandmother had to walk every other week to a little farmerstown in to get food for her father and her younger brothers. It is in that small farmerstown where she met my grandfather and not much later they got married and had 5 children together. This is the only romantic part of that story.
Stories of what both my grandparents had gone through and had seen in those horrid days have mostly been left unsaid. My grandfather was a man of few words. He would mumble stuff about how his family did all they could to support the Dutch against the Germans. My dad knew of relatives who were apparently part of the Resistance movements during World War II. We can only imagine what he had seen in his days as a farmers boy. My grandmother rarely spoke of what happened in Rotterdam. She must have seen horrible things during her travels back and forth to the farmerstown.
One thing is certain; Going by stories from other people who lived through that time, it was anything but a pleasant time in history.
War is never a pleasant time for anyone. Unfortunately there are still wars raging in the world. That is why we reflect upon this dark time in history. To think of those who lost their lives in that horrible war. And those who are still going through horrible wars today.
It is because of this that on the 4th of May, the Dutch flags are raised half. It is because of this that we take 2 minutes of silence. Out of respect for those who gave their lives and died in a war that never should have happened. Out of sorrow for so many innocent people that died for the simple fact that they were different, because sheep-people blindly followed orders of a mad man.