Today, may 4th, might be known in some countries as Star Wars day (may the fourth be with you), it`s something entirely different and more serious in the Netherlands: war memorial day.
On May 5th, 1945, the Netherlands was officially declared free from German occupation – something we celebrate to this day on Liberation Day. Today, we remembered those who died during battle, during the war, or because of the repercussions before or afterwards.
We remember those who suffered, those who fought for our freedom, those who fought for our right to live the life we want to lead. We remember those who lost their homes, their families, their lives. Those who lost their brothers, sons, uncles at the front lines, and those at home who lost their family, their children, everything they owned. It is important to take a moment every now and then to remember all of this, and to be thankful for the changes they made in the world that allow us to be where we are today.
However, I would like to use this opportunity to remind everyone that this battle is not over yet. Even today, there are still wars raging around the world, there are still injustices everywhere. Even today, after all the fighting, after all the protests throughout the years, all the changes, there still isn`t freedom and peace for everyone.
I want to ask everyone to remember those who are still dying – those in countries at war, all 60 of them. Remember those in Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria. Those in countries at unrest, like the Koreas, Mexico, Iran. Remember those who do not have freedom like we know it, who have to fight to stay alive every single day. Remember the Arabian Spring, the Syrian Civil War, the struggles for independence, the struggles for the right to choose whose side you`re even on in the first place.
And remember those in our own countries, those who are being abused, who have their rights taken away from them by other people. Those who are bullied, who are discriminated, who are set back time and time again for who they are, whether based on skin colour, sexual orientation, chosen or assigned gender.
Remember we are still fighting. And we need to keep fighting, even when war is over, to create a better world for those who come after us.
Like they did in World War II.