In addition to my work with NFDA, I am also honored to serve as U.S. Vice President for Rebild. This July 4th I was very proud to be part of this organization with its long history, and the outstanding program put together for attendees in the Rebild Hills. It was very different this year as Covid restrictions forced us to hold the festivities near the front entrance to the park rather than in the hills. But it proved to be a great success even without the traditional backdrop. As this year’s program was offered on a livestream broadcast (you can still see the program at this link - https://live.video-stream.dk/rebildfesten/2021/index.php) hundreds of additional viewers were able to join in the festivities. Like the advent of “zoom” meetings during Covid, the Rebild livestream is another example of how the pandemic has forced us to open up our Danish American programming to a virtual audience. And I believe we are greatly expanding our audience by using this technology.
Our keynote speakers and entertainment were outstanding. Kongressen.com Editor-in-Chief Anders Agner Pedersen told us how former President Kennedy advisor, Danish American Ted Sorensen still inspires us today. And Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen spoke about his journey to become an astronaut…also a story which is inspiring so many children to follow their dreams.
The top diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Chargé d'Affaires Stuart A. Dwyer not only addressed the crowd with greetings from President Biden, but Dwyer and his staff were present at all of the Rebild events leading up to the festival. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen sent greetings via video, as did Danish TV2 correspondent in Washington D.C. Jesper Steinmetz. And entertainer Erann DD was fantastic!
Like many Danish American organizations, Rebild has struggled during the past years. The annual July 4th event attendance is recently a far cry from 60-70 years ago when Rebild attracted 30,000 or more. We are forced to change with the times, and the pandemic is forcing us to change even more quickly than we may have otherwise. The livestream technology we used this year has the potential to grow our audience to levels we have not experienced in many years.
I would also like to call attention to the incredible support shown to the Rebild organization by the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen. Chargé d'Affaires Stuart A. Dwyer and many members of the Embassy staff were on hand not only for the July 4 program, but also events leading up to it. They were highly engaged and showed genuine interest in our efforts. We are planning to hold future discussions with the Embassy on ways we can work together to help the Rebild organization, and grow the July 4th festivities. Tusind tak to the Embassy for their generous show of support and desire to partner with us.
Now Rebild will turn its attention to the upcoming U.S. meeting in Arizona. Although Americans can now travel freely to Denmark, it is not the same for the Danes. Covid restrictions still prevent Danes from traveling to the U.S. Those with dual citizenship have no problems traveling. But there is a chance that it will be late in 2021, or even early 2022 before Danes can travel to the U.S. I spoke to several Embassy staff about this, and at this time, there is only uncertainty.
Nevertheless we will proceed with our plans for the U.S. conference in Arizona. You can see the schedule here. I would like to extend a wide invitation to everyone interested in Danish/American friendship to attend. You do NOT need to be a Rebild member to attend!!! Like Rebild on July 4, this event is open to everyone! And please contact me directly if you have any questions. Tusind Tak! Bruce - email@example.com
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