Posts Tagged ‘Blog’

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.
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.
Blog

Happy Presidents Day

The German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA® wishes you a Happy Presidents Day. Originally established in 1879 by Congress to celebrate George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd, this holiday now often includes all presidents. Herbert Hoover, elected in 1928, was the country’s first German-American president. Since then, numerous presidents have had German ancestry. Herbert Hoover had German-speaking ancestry on his paternal side and was the descendant of Andreas Huber, who immigrated to America from the Palatinate in the 18th century. He was also of Swiss-German ancestry.
I’m sure many of you are horrified at the latest attack by terrorists on our civilization, this time in Berlin. At the beginning of this month, my wife Marie and I visited that very Christmas market several times, as it was just down the block from our hotel where we were staying on business.
For Marie and I, this was our third brush with terrorism.
Blog

Merry Christmas

The GAHF wishes you and your family a Merry Christmas. Many of the Christmas traditions practiced in the United States were introduced by German-Americans. Christmas trees were first popularized by German immigrants in Pennsylvania. While Christmas decorations and celebrations were banned in colonial New England for being considered sacrilegious, the display of Christmas trees among other practices gained widespread acceptance during the early 19th century.