Include the (former) enemy in commemorations?

Discussion in 'Others' started by Marco, May 12, 2012.

  1. Marco

    Marco Senior Member

    As Dutch we commemorate our war dead on May 4th and celibrate our liberation on May 5th.

    Although there have been some occasions where the liberation was commemorated together with the Germans, this year for the first time a town tried to include the graves of German soldiers in their commemoration of the war dead. Someone took offence to this and took legal action. To my (pleasant) surprise the judge agreed with him and forbade the town to include the Germans in the official commemoration.

    What do you think?
  2. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I am not a Dutchman, and my country did not experience enemy conquest and occupation, so it is difficult to say. That aside, I think this should be a matter for individual conscience. If a man or a community chooses to forgive the enemy, then they should be able to do so. I do not think it should be a matter for the law.

    Yet I share some of your own thoughts as well. We had a similar controversy here 25 years ago when our president (Reagan) chose to lay a wreath in a German war cemetery in Bitburg. I did not think it was a good idea then, and I still do not. German troops were the usual moral mix of men--good, bad, and mediocre--but they served such an evil cause that I think public commemoration of them collectively should be avoided. If individuals or communities in former occupied countries choose to do so out of a sense of forgiveness, then such commemoration should be very private and discreet and should bear the feelings of others and the realities of wartime suffering very much in mind.
  3. Marco

    Marco Senior Member

    Hello TTH,

    I understand your considerations. I think we are fortunate (or not?!) to have these two dates: reflection/commemoration and celibration. It appears not many people have a problem to include the Germans for the celibration, but as someone but it: I can not commemorate and mourn my executed father and then commemorate those who were part of the system that executed him for something he did not do himself. Even though these lads could have been sent to serve against their will.



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