American Elephants

The Dutch Welcome Our New President in his Own Words! by The Elephant's Child

A humorous skit from the Netherlands. I hope the President actually sees this one. Great fun.

(thanks to Powerline)

A Small Lesson in American Exceptionalism. by The Elephant's Child

In Holland, a 44-year-old man  has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for intentionally insulting King Willem-Alexander, according to a court ruling. The man, from the city of Kampen, had posted a message on his Facebook page in April, 2015 calling the king a murderer, rapist, “oppressor” and thief.

“Hereby the defendant damaged the dignity of the King,” wrote judge Sylvia Taalman in her decision. “This behaviour is not acceptable in our society.”

Many Dutch consider the law “Insulting the Majesty” to be an antiquated relic that should be scrapped, but it has never featured high on the country’s political agenda.

The crime carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of 20,000 euros.

The royal family is generally popular in the Netherlands. Willem-Alexander ascended to the throne in 2013 when his mother Queen Beatrix abdicated. She had reigned for 33 years. The King is not yet as highly regarded as his mother.

It seems worthwhile reminding Americans that free speech isn’t free everywhere, and that our Constitutional rights are worth fighting for. Democrats, naturally, oppose any free speech that criticizes them, or disagrees with their ideas—which are, of course, right, and should be recognized as correct.

Just think how many people would be in prison here, if our comments on social media were monitored for “offensiveness.”esson in

Memorial Day in the Village of Margraten, in the Netherlands. by The Elephant's Child
May 25, 2015, 8:39 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

In November, 1944 the bodies of American soldiers who had been killed in nearby battles arrived in the village of Margraten, in the Netherlands. The war wasn’t over, and booby-traps and heavy artillery fire killed thousands of American soldiers trying to pierce the German defense lines during the ill-fated Operation Market Garden. The U.S military needed a place to bury its fallen. The Americans ultimately picked a fruit orchard just outside Margraten.

Right from the start the people of Margraten took the Americans to their hearts. The company commanders stayed in the Mayor’s home and the enlisted men slept in the schools.

“After four dark years of occupation, suddenly [the Dutch] people were free from the Nazis, and they could go back to their normal lives and enjoy all the freedoms they were used to,” explained Frenk Lahaye, an associate at the cemetery. “They knew they had to thank the American allies for that.”…

Between late 1944 and spring 1945, up to 500 bodies arrived each day, so many that the mayor went door to door asking villagers for help with the digging.

Over the next two years, about 17,740 American soldiers would be buried here, though the number of graves would shrink as thousands of families asked for their loved ones’ remains to be sent home.

On May 29, 1945, 20 trucks from the 611th collected flowers from 60 different Dutch villages. Nearly 200 Dutch men, women and children spent all night arranging flowers and wreaths by the dirt-covered graves and their makeshift wooden crosses and Stars of David.

The adoption program was the brainchild of the town clerk and a local pastor. Every grave has a volunteer caretaker, and a waiting list.

For 70 years the Dutch have come to a verdant cemetery outside this small village to care for the graves of Americans killed in World War II. Today they came again bearing Memorial Day bouquets for men and women they never met, passing the responsibility from one generation to another.

Here is a film of that first Memorial Day in Margraten, in the Netherlands in 1945,   No color, no sound, but it’s not needed. Very moving.

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