Leter W-World War Wondering

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A rough quote from the past; “the only thing learned from History, is that nothing is ever learned from History.” Well, I like to rephrase that and say “the only thing learned from history is; whatever I can dig up and learn myself about history.”

In my World History class in high school, I often wondered if we were ever going to get to learn about “anything” after World War One. We only seemed to get as far as the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand which ignited the war to begin with. Oddly enough, I distinctly remember the teacher who happened to be an Italian-American of the Catholic faith going on ad-nausea about the Italian Renaissance.

Traveling offers the perfect chance to renew, relearn, and educate ourselves about history that “we never got to,” and every once in a while run smack into it first hand.

It was this journey that led me once again to the lobby of the hotel of the ski area in Sweden. Speaking to a Swede who happened to work for a VERY large software company based in the Pacific Northwest  of the United States (please tell me you understand who I’m talking about!). I asked him how the parent company Micro………ah whoops….looked at him and his colleagues when they attended business events at the home office very close to Seattle, Washington………(still don’t have it……….your’re killing me!) ?

He laughed, and said “it’s odd that you would ask that question.” Pausing to choose his words, he began again; “they just look at us and consider Norway, Sweden, and Denmark as one common group; Scandinavia.We’re all the same people.” I asked him how that works out. “Not always as simple as they think.” He went on to explain some of the cultural differences that affect their business.

The most interesting part was when he began to explain one of the underlying riffs still lingering between Sweden and Norway which is the role each one of them played in World War Two. He touched on how Norway was invaded by Germany and occupied, while Sweden remained “technically” neutral which he openly admitted was not so benevolent and neutral as it may sound.

After a few minutes he paused and looked at me solemnly as I waited intently for him to continue. He then said, “I suppose you may think it’s quite strange to hear about two countries continuing to hold grudges against each other concerning the events that happened 75 years ago; long before the birth of some of the people holding the grudges themselves?” I burst out laughing. “I’m an American! I live in a country where cultural and philosophical clashes continue on a daily basis over a civil war that was waged against “neighbors” 150 years ago, and in some parts of the country show no signs of ending anytime soon!”

Time may “march on,” but people usually don’t.

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