Wageningen 5 May 2013
After the annual Remembrance Day on May 4, the Netherlands celebrates their liberation of World War II already for 68 years now. On May 5th, 1945 the Canadian General Charles Foulkes and the German Colonel-General Johannes Blaskowitz signed the surrender of the Germans in Hotel De Wereld in Wageningen in presence of many witnesses including Prince Bernhard.
As known the liberation is celebrated every year with many (music) festivals. Wageningen of course is a special place in this and always organises special events. The last few years the National 4 and 5 May Committee formulated a year theme which serves as a source of inspiration for the organizers of the commemorations and celebrations. This year, the following theme is chosen: “Freedom is what you agree upon”. It is mainly targeted at the younger generation and goes beyond the freedom obtained after World War II.
= The end of World War II, but also;
= Reflection to what freedom truly is and be aware of the reason of fighting for;
= Realise the absence of freedom still exists somewhere else.
Throughout the city of Wageningen are of course many events, including the parade of historic vehicles and the defile in front of the many (military) officials and guests. This parade is, since 2011, prepared at “the Dreijen” the grounds of the University of Wageningen. Throughout the day the various participants and vehicles are deployed in this area to be admired by the public and veterans present.
Also this year. Mainly because of the beautiful weather, people feel like really being in the past. The many historical vehicles, including tanks, ambulances and a complete field hospital, various motorcycles and military equipment is set up and are in particular interest to the public. Especially the children can’t get enough to be photographed together with the “actors”. The historical material is in excellent condition and still in function. There are many demos to hear and see on this day. Later on a parachute landing is organised. The paratroopers show off several flags in the air (inclusive the Canadian). A colourful spectacle.
Thanks to the many volunteers, who are taking good care of all the veterans, it is possible to organise this special event; together with music from the 40’s and 50’s like Glenn Miller, The Andrew Sisters and Vera Lynn.
In the afternoon many visitors are lined up along the route which the parade in Wageningen will march. According to the organisation more than 120,000 people are present this year to behold and share the experience.
A Colour Party of the Royal Canadian Legion is obviously present. This time 14 comrades of RCL from the Netherlands and abroad are carrying a flag. Behind them in the parade there are many other comrades marching without colours. A group of Canadian Airforce commanders from Geilenkirchen Germany are participating very enthusiastically. Several Pipes and Drums band are marching in front of and in the parade providing the special musical atmosphere.
The parade has to stop a few times during the flight over of a number of old aircrafts and because of the activities, which take place on stage where the parade passes by. People along the route are very excited and do ask many questions about the background of RCL and its participation in the parade, which we of course gladly explain during the stops.
The defile then marches along the podium where a military salute is given. The parade continues its route across Wageningen passing by the many people to end up on de Dreijen again.
On this day there were many things to see and do. Please check out the RCL 005 photo album Click