Each year the senior students called "Russ" have spent the night in preparation of the big day that marks their graduation from school. Most of them have partied all night in their school uniforms and the goal is to see who can stay on their feet the longest. My daughter this year is one of them.
Where am I in all of this? Comforting our dog who we have dosed with Valium because the sounds of a music band petrify her just as much as fireworks. I don't have to go far, several parades with bands pass right outside our window.
All over Norway, bells chime, guns sound of several solutes and children line up behind the music to start the parade. In Oslo the Royal family stands on the terrace of the palace and greets the thousands of children that pass below them. For Norwegians there is a special meaning behind this day, one that is separate from a declaration of independence. During WW2 Norwegians were not allowed by the Germans which occupied this country to celebrate their national holiday or to honor their flag. Norwegians would have to celebrate in secret among friends and family. Today on the 17th of May this beautiful country and its people celebrate in extra glory knowing full well what it is like not being able to do so. Today they eat a lot of ice cream because they can!