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November 11, 2008

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Claudia

Dear husband, this is only the second time in our marriage that we have run into a true cultural divide.

What I sent you to City Hall for was the beginning of the Fasching season, not any war ceremonies. At 11:11:11 am, the local Fasching club invades the city hall and takes over business - in some towns the mayor has to surrender the key to the city. In Ostheim, they do that.

We don't have small scale Armistice/Veteran Day ceremonies. There is some thing in Berlin, I think, and there is the usual announcement on the nightly news. In Germany, November 11 is almost entirely about Fasching and about St. Martin.

Sorry for the confusion.

Doug M.

No, love, I got that it was about Fasching. I just wondered where the war commemoration /went/.


Douglas

Colin Alberts

I remember reading somewhere earlier this year that when the last German soldier of WWI died on New Years Day [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Kaestner_(World_War_I_veteran)], it passed entirely unnoticed in his country (apart from a standard family notice in the local paper that made no mention of his veteran status). It took about three weeks, and some American Great War buffs scanning the internet, to point out to the world press what had happened. So the more restrained German commemoration of Armistice+90 doesn't surprise me.

I was aware Martinmas had been in olden days a sort of Fat Tuesday counterpart vis-a-vis Advent, particularly in Alsace, but thought that was way, way back in the taillights. Reading this therefore was fun. It does seem sort of silly though, to have the festival of excess when even Advent lost any real penitential, fasting character many centuries ago.

Colin Alberts

I remember reading somewhere earlier this year that when the last German soldier of WWI died on New Years Day [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Kaestner_(World_War_I_veteran)], it passed entirely unnoticed in his country (apart from a standard family notice in the local paper that made no mention of his veteran status). It took about three weeks, and some American Great War buffs scanning the internet, to point out to the world press what had happened. So the more restrained German commemoration of Armistice+90 doesn't surprise me.

I was aware Martinmas had been in olden days a sort of Fat Tuesday counterpart vis-a-vis Advent, particularly in Alsace, but thought that was way, way back in the taillights. Reading this therefore was fun. It does seem sort of silly though, to have the festival of excess when even Advent lost any real penitential, fasting character many centuries ago.

Peter

I wouldn't say that Veterans Day has much emotional resonance in America. In part that's because it is a neither-here-nor-there semi-holiday, with schools, government offices and banks closed, but most private businesses open. Making it a full holiday might lead to its getting more respect. Although maybe not, because Veterans Day falls in a holiday-filled time of year. It's one week after Election Day and all the attenion that gathers, less than two weeks after Halloween (not an actual holiday, but heavily commercialized), and a little over two weeks before Thanksgiving.

The New York City Math Teacher

Found my grandfather's Reichswehr paybook earlier this year, complete with secret orders to Turkey pasted over with gummed papers. His thirtieth jahrzeit comes in two weeks - he died just after Thanksgiving, 1978.

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