Editor’s Notes

Look to Norway—a very special friendship

FDR and Crown Princess Märtha sitting in front of a line of microphones during FDR's "Look to Norway" speech in 1941

Photo: Slottets biblotek / NTB
On Sept. 16, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt inspired a generation when he delivered his famous “Look to Norway” speech with Crown Princess Märtha (center) and Eleanor Roosevelt (right).

Dear readers and friends,

Here at The Norwegian American, every issue is special, and this one is no exception. We are so delighted to share your memories of Syttende Mai this year, along with some special memories from years gone by. Each year, the 17th of May is the day when we all “look to Norway” in great pride, as we are filled with gratitude and inspiration. And from your response and all the colorful photos you have sent us, Norwegian Constitution Day was fun-filled, meaningful and memorable.

“Look to Norway,” of course, has a deep meaning for all Norwegians and Norwegian Americans with its association with the famous speech that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered during the handover ceremony of the Royal Norwegian Navy ship HNoMS King Haakon VII at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16, 1942.

This speech made an enormous impact on American public opinion on the struggle of the Norwegians and other Europeans in their fight against Hitler’s tyranny. And we know that Roosevelt’s interest in Norway was strengthened by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s friendship with then Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha. Many of us have recently enjoyed the depiction of these historical events in the PBS Masterpiece series Atlantic Crossing, and we are bringing you more content around this and the history of the war in Scandinavia in this issue and throughout the summer.

As editor-in-chief of this newspaper, I am reminded on a daily basis just how strong the relationship between the United States and Norway is. I am constantly amazed at the support shown to me when I reach out to people in our community and in Norway.

This is what happened when I contacted Gyri Tveitt in Norway about the beautiful photo that appears on the cover of this issue. When I asked her if we could have permission to use her photo for our Syttende Mai photos issue, I was met with great warmth and enthusiasm. There was an immediate connection between us when we first talked, as if we had known one another for a long time. This is what the Norwegian-American friendship is all about. We look forward to collaborating more with Gyri in the future, as we explore the work of her father, Geirr Tveitt, one of Norway’s most important composers—and, of course, we look forward to seeing more of Gyri’s marvelous art.

Gyri’s cover photo spoke to me immediately, not only because of the glorious scene from the Tveit farm overlooking the Hardanger­fjord but because of the love I saw in the placement of the Norwegian flags among the tulips, so carefully planted to emerge as a symphony of color for Syttende Mai. If a photo could speak, it would certainly bring forth the tones of Hardanger in an outburst of the joy of spring and pride and love for Norway.

Your photos, too, are full of this love and joy—thank you again for sending them. Here at the newspaper, we love learning about your experiences and hearing your ideas, so please keep them coming. We want you to take as much pride in our newspaper as we do.

As I write this, it is Memorial Day weekend, also a very important time for us as Americans. I believe we can all look back in pride and gratitude, as we work toward a better future filled with love, friendship, and peace, here at home, in Norway, and around the world.

Always wishing you the best,

Lori Ann Reinhall
Editor-in-chief, The Norwegian American

This article originally appeared in the June 4, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.

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