A Day of Remembrance

5 Dec

Last week I went to what I thought was the Sunday-evening mass at the cathedral here in Freiburg. Turns out, they were having a prayer program in place of mass, but I decided to stay to see what it was.

Sunday, November 27th, just so happened to be the 67th anniversary of when the city of Freiburg was bombed by the RAF during World War Two. I listened for the hour and a half as the priest spoke and prayed about those days, and about how war was a terrible thing, and that even now, in the Christmas season, terrible things are happening–we should not forget those we have lost, the misfortune that befalls us, but we should also look towards the future, and do what we can to keep misfortune from falling on others.

It was a very surreal experience, because there we were on the first Sunday of Advent, the first day of the Christmas season in the church, and we spent the entire service talking about sadness, sorrow and destruction. It was very different from anything I’ve experienced at church back in the States. Of course, it was also a somewhat strange experience for me because I was the only American in the cathedral; the topic of the evening was World War Two and all of the mistakes Germany made, and how Germany paid a heavy price for those mistakes. It was an extremely humbling service, I have to say. Very somber, the topic was a heavy one,and it really didn’t seem to fit with the whole ‘holiday’ season. I guess I wasn’t expecting something like that; I think it’s assumed by most of us Americans that Germany just doesn’t mention the war, be it from shame or some other feeling, but here we were in the cathedral praying for life and love and peace while acknowledging the bitter, ugly parts of a war from 70 years ago.

The picture that I’ve attached is a picture of the center of Freiburg the summer after the bombing. The large building in the center (one of the few left standing) is the very cathedral we held the service in.

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