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Remembrance Day 2014. A time to reflect on all of those who suffered through the wars of the past and present and all of those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of others. On this Remembrance Day 2014 I remember the sacrifices of my family and those who fell so that we may have freedom.
My Family Connection
My dad was born in the Netherlands during WWII. He doesn’t remember it because he was just a baby. My grandparents rarely spoke about the War. I can’t even imagine the horrors and atrocities that they experienced and the loved ones that they lost.
What I do know is that my grandmother lost her brother to a lineup in a concentration camp. My grandfather (who I never met) was a minister and was one of the few people who were permitted to travel around freely to perform religious services.
When my grandmother passed away in 2012 we found letters that my grandfather had written to her during WWII; they were sweet yet heartbreaking. We also found permission letters from the Germans allowing him to travel by bicycle at certain hours to perform religious services, but curfews were strictly enforced. My grandmother also had a collection of underground newspapers that could have gotten her into a lot of trouble had anyone found them at the time.
The untold history that we lost with my grandmother two years ago is incredible, but I can understand why it’s not something she spoke about. I can’t imagine what she experienced during those years and I admire her strength to get through it. I am so thankful for all of those who gave their lives so that we may live in peace.
A Visit to the Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam
Visiting the Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam drove the reality of WWII home for me. Being in the house where Anne Frank and her family lived in secret was such an emotional and humbling experience.
I first read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl years ago and I still remember the impact it had on me. To imagine myself in Anne Frank’s position, at age 13, living in the attic of this house with eight people while in constant fear of being discovered is simply unimaginable; and to be standing in the very rooms where she wrote her diary was surreal. What I find most admirable though, is that Anne was still able to enjoy the simple pleasures and beauty of life. If you haven’t read The Diary of a Young Girl, I highly recommend it, you can find it here.
“We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice.” ~ Otto Frank, 1970 (Anne Frank’s father)
The world was such a different place back then. I am so grateful for all of those who had the courage and strength to give their lives so that by the time I was born, less than an hour’s drive outside of Amsterdam, my family had the opportunity to live in a better world.
It gives me chills to think of the history that my grandparents lived through. On this Remembrance Day 2014 I remember the sacrifices of my family and those who fell so that we may live a life of freedom.