We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

Syttende Mai anniversary celebrated

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By John W. Eyster
Sunday, May 18, 2014

TODAY is the 200th anniversary of the NORWEGIAN CONSTITUTION which is being celebrated world-wide by NORWEGIANS and persons of NORWEGIAN genealogy!  I assume that readers of WE THE PEOPLE blog already are aware that this weekend is the HUGE SYTTENDE CELEBRATION in STOUGHTON, WISCONSIN.  For full details about this weekend in Stoughton, use the “Visit Stoughton” website.  The Wisconsin State Journal also links to the WESTBY, WISCONSIN celebration, “Westby Syttende Mai.”

NORWAY is celebrating this 200th anniversary with special events throughout the country, but the focus is on EIDSVOLL, NORWAY where a constituent assembly elected by the congregations of the Norwegian state church and military units convened on April 10, 1814 at the Eidsvoll Manor.  If you are interested in more information about this national monument, there is a very informative source, “The Eidsvoll House.”

The drafting of a constitution took 5 weeks with ratification by the assembly on May 16 followed by the signing on May 17, 1814.  That makes TODAY – May 17, 2014 – the 200th anniversary of the signing of the NORWEGIAN CONSTITUTION.  I recommend Wikipedia’s article, “Constitution of Norway,” if you want to gain more information.

Failing to gain international support to be an INDEPENDENT SOVEREIGN NATION and with SWEDEN sending military forces to implement the control of SWEDEN over NORWAY set-up by the Treaty of Kiel, Norway negotiated to create a UNION with Sweden.  NORWAY kept its own Constitution and accepted the KING OF SWEDEN as its monarch.

NORWEGIAN INDEPENDENCE did NOT come until June 7 when the Norwegian Parliament declared the union with Sweden dissolved.  NORWAY became a CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY rather than a REPUBLIC through a Norwegian referendum.  The Norwegian parliament unanimously elected the Danish Prince Carl to be king.  He became KING HAAKON VII OF NORWAY.  His coronation took place on June 22, 1906 at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.  If you want to learn more about King Haakon VII, I recommend Wikipedia’s article, “Haakon VII of Norway.”

I am looking forward to sharing the CELEBRATION of the 200th anniversary of the NORWEGIAN CONSTITUTION as celebrated IN NORWAY TODAY with our Janesville NORDLAND Sons of Norway Lodge #544 next Wednesday, May 21.  The public is welcome to the 6:30 pm monthly social meeting with potluck followed by my program celebrating this year’s SYTTENDE MAI.  The Sons of Norway Lodge’s Heritage Center is located at 418 West Milwaukee Street, Janesville.

I was fascinated by George Hesselberg’s feature, “Norwegian descendants track constitution signers for 200th anniversary" published yesterday by the Wisconsin State Journal.  This article provide not only general bicentennial celebration information and links to valuable sources online, but the MOST EXCITING to me was reading about WISCONSIN people who are descendants of signers of the NORWEGIAN CONSTITUTION on May 17, 1814. I think you will be surprised and interested.

“Ja, vi elsker dette landet” is the national anthem of NORWAY meaning, “Yes, we love this country.”  If you want to hear it sung with text in Norwegian and English.

I welcome you to the Nordland Sons of Norway Lodge’s social meeting next Wednesday, May 21 and to sharing with you my program celebrating the 200th anniversary of the NORWEGIAN CONSTITUTION.  “HJERTELIG VELKOMMEN!” (Norwegian = heartily welcome!)

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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