Norway in our hearts

A message from Editor-in-chief Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall

Photo: Emil Weatherhead Breistein
Editor Lori Ann Reinhall is musical director at Bergen Place Park in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood for the annual Syttende mai celebration.

Dear readers and friends,

“Norge i våre hjerter”—Norway in our hearts: today, these words resonate with us stronger than ever.

They were first chosen as the title for a collection of poems published in 1929 by the great Norwegian poet, playwright, and journalist Nordahl Grieg (1902-1943). He served in World War II as a war correspondent,  and sadly, he was killed on a bombing mission to Berlin. Grieg is remembered as one of Norway’s greatest heroes for his part in the resistance movement during the war and his anti-fascist poetry that championed the cause of freedom.

With this special issue, we celebrate these very same values that Nordahl upheld. It is of significance that our date of publication is May 8, 2020, exactly 75 years after the end of the war of Norway. This was a freedom that required enormous sacrifices by the Norwegian people and their allies around the world. We are proud to bring you some of their stories told from a personal perspective, as we pay honor to them.

And this is also our annual Syttende mai issue, perhaps the most important and popular of the entire year. Important, because it commemorates the signing of the Norwegian Constitution, laying the foundation for the Norwegian nation and all that it stands for.  Popular, because with its colorful variety of content, we anticipate the big day on May 17.

Needless to say, this year’s Syttende mai will be very different from any we have ever known, and this proved a challenge for us here at The Norwegian American. There were no parades or festivals to post on our calendar, no big parties to report on. Even choosing a cover image proved to be problematic. So many Syttende mai photos are of huge crowds closely banded together—the exact opposite of social distancing during the time of the coronavirus.

Image courtesy of Friends of Bergen Place

But new ideas emerge out of necessity. Our cover image of the mural at Bergen Place Park in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood proved to be the perfect choice, embodying our heritage and the festivities that have taken place there since May 17, 1889—also the birthdate of our newspaper. The beautiful mural also pays homage to the entire Nordic community, who are also always there celebrating with us. We will miss being there this year, but there are a number of online activities planned across communities across the country. 

And The Norwegian American also has some special plans for the 17th of May. We will be broadcasting music directly from Norway on our website, and we urge you to send us old photos from 17th of May celebrations you remember for us to share on social media.

As we have learned during the past few weeks, the spirit of Syttende mai is very much alive, with Norway always in our hearts. Here at the newspaper, we have been overwhelmed by the number of you who have supported us with greetings and advertising, even when you are facing challenges of your own. It has motivated us to work to our very utmost to bring you a commemorative issue that we hope will make your holiday extra special and memorable.

Gratulerer med dagen!

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief
& the team at The Norwegian American

This article originally appeared in the May 8, 2020, 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.