Today’s the big day everyone! Only one team can advance to the Quarter Finals from this point. As Americans, we are proud of our country. We are proud of the achievements that TEAM USA has accomplished thus far to make it to the round of 16. We are also amazed at the achievements that TEAM BELGIUM have made.
As Americans, it is natural for us to wish that the US team advance to the Quarter Finals. As those who write about Belgian Beer, Belgian Cuisine (and the wonderful culture that is intertwined in the two) we would also rejoice if Belgium were victorious today.
Putting the World Cup aside for a moment, it is important to note that the United States and Belgium have a long history together. In more recent history, Belgians have shown their gratitude towards American Soldiers in WWII by creating War Memorials in their honor- specifically in Neuville-en-Condroz, Flanders Field, and Henri-Chapelle.
*It is said that when Henry Hudson sailed up the New York river that now bears his name, three Flemings were aboard the ship. Certainly the Belgians participated in the early settlement (seventeenth century) of what is now Manhattan. Many historians believe that Peter Minuit, who acted as purchasing agent for the West Indian Company when Manhattan Island was bought from the resident Native Americans, was a Walloon, or at least of Belgian heritage. And it is known that his secretary, Isaac de Rasiers, was a Walloon.
Henry C. Bayer, in his book The Belgians, First Settlers in New York and in the Middle States, discussed Belgian settlements at Wallabout, Long Island, and Staten Island, as well as in Hoboken, Jersey City, Pavonia, Communipaw, and Wallkill, New Jersey. These place names are derived from both the Walloons who settled there, as well as from the Dutch version of Walloon words used to describe a locale. For example, Hoboken is named after a town in Belgium. Pavonia got its name when a Fleming, Michael Pauw, purchased land on the Jersey shore. Translating his own name, Pauw (which in Flemish and Dutch means “peacock”) into Latin, he got “Pavonia.” Wallkill is the Dutch word for “Walloon’s Stream.” Elsewhere, the Walloomsac River in Vermont derives its name from the Walloons who settled on the east branch of the Hoosac River in New York. Belgian settlements were also established during the seventeenth century in Connecticut, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. These were settled primarily by Walloons, many of whom came to America on ships owned by the West India Company, whose founder, William Usselinx, was Flemish.
A notable name connected with America’s early history is Lord Baltimore, whose family were prominent aristocrats in Flemish Belgium. Belgian officers also fought during the Revolutionary War. To note a few: Charles De Pauw, a Fleming who accompanied Lafayette to America; Ensign Thomas Van Gaasbeck, Captain Jacques Rapalje, and Captain Anthony Van Etten, all of New York; and Captain Johannes Van Etten of Pennsylvania. (* Source: EveryCulture.com “Belgian Americans”)
We believe a mutual respect between Americans and Belgians must be kept and held in high esteem. So when we see hateful behavior evoked from both sides towards each other merely to support their Soccer / Football team, we feel that it crosses the line, and is disappointing to watch.
We are all for people having national pride and supporting their team, but when we see Belgians wishing that the Red, White and Blue are “crushed” with a vengeance, or when we see an American Waffle house boycott Belgian Waffles, we say enough is enough! We say, that both Americans and Belgians should remember their history. Neither is the enemy! Belgians- remember how our soldiers liberated your country from the Nazis in WWII. Americans- remember what great contributions the Belgians have made in the United States and in society as a whole. The Belgians have blessed us with the best beers in the world. Why do you think their beer styles are some of the most imitated in the American craft beer scene?
After reading our opinion here, you may disagree with our point of view. But we would ask, why? Today as Americans, we will be cheering on the United States team first. We will also be cheering on the Belgians as well. We will rejoice if either team makes it to the Semi Finals in the World Cup.
op uw gezondheid!
à votre santé!