The fourth of May isn’t just Star Wars Day. In fact, I didn’t even know it was Star Wars Day until about two years ago. I’ve never watched the movies. It’s not my thing.
The fourth of May for me and every other Dutch person, means Remembrance Day. On the fourth of May, all victims of the Second World War are remembered. More recently (2011), this has been expanded to include “all Dutch victims – civilians and soldiers – who have been killed or murdered in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world in war situations or during peace-keeping operations since the outbreak of the Second World War.”
A national remembrance ceremony is aired on radio, television and the Internet, so everyone can follow it. There are of course also local remembrance ceremonies. The part that stands out most for me, is the two minutes of silence. The whole country is silent for two minutes. This includes train stations and airports. People who are on their way (only if it cannot be avoided), will pull over to the side of the road. During these two minutes, nothing happens in the Netherlands.
I think it’s important to remember this. To remember that a long time ago, the whole world was at war, which caused millions of lives. Personally, I also find it important to remember that there are still a lot of people who live in a war-torn country and how lucky I am, that I do not.
So maybe the next time you read a book where a real or fictional war is the setting or merely a plot device, remember how lucky you are for being safe and free.
Ps. On the fifth of May, we don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but instead we celebrate our freedom!