In the Netherlands they celebrate the 5th of May annually. In 1945 on that day the Second World War came to an end for the country. In 2010 only a small group of people really can tell about that day. And a very tiny group of people can tell even more. They are the veterans who came together with the Canadian soldiers to get the German army out. Every year they have their own ceremonies. From all over the country they travel to a central point to do this together.
I saw them in the train compartment I got in. He, in his late 80’s, dressed in official clothing. His medals were very prominently pinned on his jacket. Next to him his wife was in her super best dress; she couldn’t have been much younger. They were very ready for the celebrations. They didn’t need many words to understand each other. After so many years of being together a little nod of the head or a little squeeze in the others hand was telling enough.
Their peace was disturbed by a noisy group of teenage girls. They held their conversation while they kept their earpieces of their I-pods in. So it took some shouting to get things over to the others.
A discussion started where to go to. In the city they were going to a music festival which was held, like every year, as far as they could probably remember. They hadn’t decided yet which bands they were going to watch and listen to. There was such a great choice!
One of the girls announced that she had the latest piece of a very well known artist on her device. So the others asked her to let them listen to it. The earpieces were removed and a few seconds later the music streamed into the compartment. Some people, who were working on their laptops, looked up and just went on with hammering on the keys.
The veteran looked at his wife and shook his head. It was hardly to be seen. His wife took his hand and placed it on her lap. Together they obviously had made a decision. The rest of the route they looked out of the window, not giving the music lovers another look.
At the next station almost everybody needed to get off the train. Very politely the girls gave way for the veteran and his wife. Behind each other they left the train. The girls were singing the last song they had been listening to.
It looked like the veteran was still slightly shaking his head on the way out but it was accompanied by a faint smile.