Monday, July 04, 2011

America's Independence Day celebrated in Denmark

Rebild Bakker celebrants, July 4, 2011--photo courtesy
of TV Nord
Although like most bloggers I'll spend hours on the computer researching stories, but there are posts that I can only write because I left the comfort of my home.

Such as today's Rebild Bakker entry.

Each July 4 I try to come up with a unique entry to celebrate America's Independence. And I believe I accomplished my goal today.

The world's largest July 4th celebration outside the United States doesn't take place in a tourist mecca such as Cancun or Nassau. It's in Rebild Bakker National Park in Denmark. In fact it has already started--(story in Danish.)

Last summer, at the urging of Mrs. Marathon Pundit, I drove nine miles north off of Interstate 80 to the town of Elk Horn, Iowa to see the Danish Immigrant Museum. Mrs. MP is a native of Latvia and would gaze across the Baltic Sea and wonder about the freedom at the other end of it.

One of the museum's displays covers Rebild Bakker. The festival, which will celebrate its centennial next year, was the brainchild Danish-American Max Henius, who emigrated to Chicago in 1881. He donated the hilly land in North Jutland so it could be used as a gathering place to further Danish-American relations. Over 10,000 Danes attend the July 4th celebrations annually.

Elk Horn's Danish Windmill
Prominent Americans often speak at Rebild Bakker, including Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Walter Cronkite, and Mercury astronaut Wally Shirra. On the grounds of the park is the Lincoln Log Cabin Museum and a replica of a totem pole given to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Here is a Danish-American coincidence: The Lincoln museum was constructed in Washington state with native cedar trees. It was disassembled and rebuilt in Rebild. (Sorry about that last sentence.) There's an authentic Danish windmill in Elk Horn, which was taken apart in Jutland, and erected in the western Iowa town in honor of America's bicentennial.

Have a Happy 4th of July--whether you are in Iowa, Denmark, or anywhere else today.

A special thanks to a great patriot, Elly Sorensen of Odense, Denmark, who assisted me in researching this story.

Earlier Rebild Bakker celebration
Related posts:

Iowa I Opener: Danish Immigrant Museum
Iowa I Opener: Elk Horn and its Danish windmill

July 4th entries:

July 4, 1863: Confederates surrender at Vicksburg
July 4, 1882: Buffalo Bill Cody and the birth of the rodeo

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