President Obama honors Raoul Wallenberg

President Barack Obama today honored Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day.

This year marks 100 years since Raoul Wallenberg was born. He became an American honorary citizen in 1981.

Wallenberg saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews in the last months of World War II, but was captured in January 1945 by advancing Soviet troops and died in a Soviet prison a couple of years later.

President Obama:

“We remember and revere this courageous man whose efforts saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust. Wallenberg paid with his life for his commitment to basic values. And we all have the obligation to ponder the full measure of Wallenberg’s personal sacrifice and tragedy.”

The Holocaust Memorial Day was commemorated in the U.S. Congress and with a seminar and an exhibition about the Swedish diplomat at the House of Sweden in Washington, DC.

The joy of a hot bike trip in Washington, DC

Memorial Day in Washington, DC.

Hot and humid. Concert and a parade, and many who flocked to the Arlington cemetery across the Potomac River, including president Obama, who made a speech and laid a wreath.

Many simply gathered in their gardens with family and friends, and the barbecue smoke hung in the air, everywhere. Others had left town and gone out to the beach resorts in Delaware, Maryland, or Virginia.  The city was really quite empty and the heat made it feel even emptier.

I took a bike ride while waiting for the barbecue in the afternoon, on Sligo Creek Trail along the Sligo Creek in Silver Spring, Maryland, just north of the border with Washington, DC. It was late morning, before the heat reached 95 degrees. Normally, I would never even have thought about exercising outdoors if it were not so that the bike path mostly ran in the shade of big trees and with water from Sligo Creek constantly running refreshingly along the route.

There were not many riders out on the almost 10 mile long trail, perhaps because of the heat. So there was plenty of room even though bikers must share the trail with joggers and families with strollers. It was quiet and peaceful and just one more of the many joys one can find in the green parks of the U.S. capital.