Editor’s Notes

A time for celebration, a time for contemplation

Photo: NTB archives
The United States and Norway were founded on common principles, and the bond of friendship between the two countries is a strong one. Pictured here, young Crown Prince Harald celebrates Constitution Day with his family and friends at his home in exile in Pooks Hill, Md., on May 17, 1944.

The Norwegian American

Dear readers and friends,

For the entire staff here at The Norwegian American, this is always one of the busiest times of the year and one of the most important.

We are busy, because we want to bring you the best Syttende Mai issue possible. This issue is also important to us in terms of our annual revenue, full of ads and holiday greetings. I want to underline that we take all this responsibility very seriously.

But most of all, this time of the year is special to us because of what it means to us as a celebration of our values, and this year, in the time of the pandemic, our open societies and  freedom mean more to us than ever.

For many Norwegian Americans, the 17th of May is just as significant as the Fourth of July. It is a celebration of what their Norwegian heritage has given them: a system of beliefs that has enabled them or their forebears to survive and thrive in a new country. And as you will read in many places in this issue, our countries were founded on common principles. In modern history, the United States and Norway have been closely bound together, both in thought and deed, a relationship that will endure and sustain us.

Yes, there is much celebrate on May 17, but this year, like last, will be different than usual. For many, this may still feel a little  melancholic with many coronavirus restrictions still in place. But at the same time, we can marvel at the resiliency and creativity of our communities everywhere. Here at the newspaper, we have had the pleasure of reporting on some of the activities planned for the 17th of May, both here at home and in Norway. There are not only online celebrations that you can tune into from all over the globe, there will also be smaller-scale local celebrations, where friends and neighbors will come to together in intimate settings. And as we learned last year, we may be even closer together in spirit, although we are physically separated from each other. As we saw in 2020, “COVID Syttende Mai” can also be a lot of fun, and I expect that many of you will feel that way this year, too.

As always, with this special issue, I am so impressed with the quality of our contributors and the variety of content they provide us. But I am also impressed with the contributions of our readers. Some of them have shared their remembrances of May 8, 1945, real-life accounts of historical moments.

This all comes at a moment when there is a renewed interest in the events of World War II with the television mini-series Atlantic Crossing. We also mourn the loss of one of the greatest Norwegian Americans of our time, former Vice President Walter F. Mondale. We think of the sacrifices made by those who came before us, as we work to carry on their legacy.

Above all, the past year has taught us that we can never take anything for granted, and my heart will be filled with gratitude this Syttende Mai. Here at The Norwegian American, we are so grateful for all the support you have given us in recent months. It is truly an honor to lead this newspaper, which has been in existence since May 17, 1889, and to serve you and our community.

Gratulerer med dagen, Norge!
Hipp hipp hurra for Syttende Mai!

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

This article originally appeared in the May 7, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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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.