Veteran's Day

May 15, 2006

Today a colleague asked me...

... by the way, do they celebrate Veterans Day in Germany?

hm. Ah, well... not quite.

But he figured it out himself ;)

German flag, half-staffAnyhow, the question is actually not as stupid as it sounds. The Federal Republic of Germany does not quite celebrate the "great work" of the German soldiers during World War II with a veterans day, for obvious reasons. However, we celebrate Volkstrauertag (similar to the idea behind "Memorial Day" in the U.S.), which is dedicated to those who died during wars in general, or suffered from them (especially the two World Wars). Regardless of their nationality, by the way. It is celebrated each year in November, two sundays before the beginning of advent.

The flags on official buildings are set half-staff, and the President holds a speech in the German parliament, the Bundestag. Afterwards, they play the national anthem and usually, the "good comrade" ("Ich hatt' einen Kameraden"), a famous German dirge. All over Germany, people get together to commemorate and put down memorial wreaths in front of war monuments. (I myself usually play the aforementioned songs with my orchestra in our home town).

So, now you know how it is, dear readers :). Of course, everything is different in Germany, but as you see, it is often still quite similar.

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