Weird cross-cultural hang up. . .
In Ukraine, it is a serious political faux pas to say “The Ukraine” — as many of us grew up saying during the Cold War. It implies that Ukraine is “the borderlands” of Russia, and that Ukraine isn’t a state in its own right.
However, the proper term here is The Bahamas. It’s on the government documents and money.
But, I just. can’t. say. it. I can’t say “The”. . .
I hope I’m not offending any Bahamians or making another political faux pas by just saying Bahamas.
A new Foreign Service Officer is getting married soon and is about to head off to her first post. When she asked about wedding registry and wishlist items for this transient lifestyle, these are the things I’ve found helpful over the past four years.
Hubby is outside of Kyiv. He’s spent this weekend as an election observer during this key Ukrainian election. He emailed me at 5:45am, while they were still counting ballots. He’ll be home on the evening train tonight. We will have our family memorial time tomorrow.
It is always odd to be overseas during distinctly American holidays. Other countries do have days similar to Memorial Day, days to remember those who have given their lives in the fight for freedom or for their country. In Ukraine, probably the closest thing is Dyen Pobyedi, “Victory Day,” which was May 9th. Right now, with the tumult and the fighting and the shock that it is going on here in Ukraine, Memorial Day feels even more poignant.
“Dulce et decorum est”
The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.
The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.
Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.
May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.
In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a sword.