Independence Day Independence Day is the national holiday of the United States. On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress declared the independence of the thirteen American colonies from Britain and this laid the foundation of a new nation state—the United States of America. During the Revolutionary War, German Americans served both the British and the Americans. Well known is the Prussian born general Baron von Steuben (1730–1794), who fought on the American side and became famous by introducing successful new military drills, tactics, and disciplines. Other German Americans followed the example of Frederick Baron de Weissenfels, who initially joined the British, but soon changed sides. In this respect German Americans took their share in achieving the independence that Americans celebrate with their national holiday every year since 1777.
The German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA® wishes you and all the fathers in your life a Happy Father’s Day!
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Pentecost

Pentecost, or Pfingsten as it is known in Germany, is a Christian holiday, commemorating the arrival of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus Christ. Pfingsten is celebrated 49 days or seven weeks after Easter Sunday and ten days after Ascension Day. Therefore, it usually falls between the 10th of May and the 13th of June. Pentecost has roots in the Jewish holiday Shavuot, which is both a day of thanksgiving and a remembrance of the day on which Moses received the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, which is a central foundation narrative for all Abrahamic religions. While the Ten Commandments symbolizes the connection between God and his people, Pentecost celebrates the connection between God and his people in the form of the Holy Ghost, who told Jesus’s disciples to spread the message of Christianity. Since this marks the beginning of Christianity as an official religion for Christians, Pentecost is one of the most important Christian holidays.
This Memorial Day we mourn those who gave their lives in defending our country. Over the years, many German Americans have been part of the loss of lives that we reflect upon today. Rituals honoring the dead, especially those who fell in battle against one’s enemy, can be traced back as far as to Ancient Greece. For Americans, Memorial Day is a federal holiday, honoring those in the Armed Forces who fell in service to their country. Germany has a similar day of remembrance called Volkstrauertag, which is observed two weeks before the first Sunday of Advent. On the surface, these two holidays seem very similar, yet there are some noticeable differences: The focus of Memorial Day in America lies in soldiers and those who have served in the Armed Forces, whereas the German Volkstrauertag memorializes all victims of war: soldiers, civilians, and those who fell victim to oppressive systems. This reflects some of the cultural differences regarding how the Armed Forces are perceived in each country. Returning after WWII, American soldiers were praised as heroes and saviors of the Free World. In Germany however, former soldiers were initially eager to play down the Wehrmacht’s involvement in Nazi Crimes and cast themselves as victims, too. Since the 1980s, the perception has changed toward associating Hitler’s Army with Nazi Germany’s shameful past. However, in neither patterns of interpretation did German society give much reason to remember their soldiers as heroes of the nation like in the United States.
The German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA® wishes you and all the moms in your life a Happy Mother’s Day! Sincerely, GAHF
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Happy Easter

The GAHF wishes you and your family a happy Easter. Easter as it is celebrated in the United States today has been shaped in many ways over the centuries by traditions brought over from Germany. While colored and decorated eggs, often symbolizing rebirth, have been part of Easter and other festivals around the world for centuries, the folklore of an Easter bunny hiding Easter eggs was first noted in 1682 by the German physician Georg Franck von Franckenau. It would then take another century for this holiday tradition to reach America.