On Sunday November 10, the annual commemoration ceremony takes place for the Canadian soldiers who have fallen during the Liberation of the Netherlands. The public ceremony starts at 11:00 am at the National Canadian Liberation Monument at the Loolaan in Apeldoorn. Public is cordially invited.
Every year on the Sunday closest to November 11 – Remembrance Day – Canadian soldiers are commemorated, who gave their lives for the Dutch freedom and died in the two world wars and in peacekeeping operations afterwards. On this occasion the boards of the Dutch branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Foundation Liberation ’45 organize for several years now a memorial at the National Canadian Liberation Monument.
The monument is shaped like a bronze swaying figure holding a hat in each hand. It symbolizes the expression of joy and gratitude for the regained freedom and is also a lasting tribute from the Netherlands to Canada. Near Dow’s Lake in Ottawa, Canada, is a twin monument erected. The statues symbolize the enduring friendship between the Netherlands and Canada. HRH Princess Margriet unveiled both monuments respectively on May 2, 2000 in Apeldoorn and on May 11, 2002 in Ottawa.
Present at the memorial service are the mayor of Apeldoorn, Drs JCGM Berends, veterans, military and civilian guests, as well as children of the Koninklijke Scholengemeenschap and the Heuvellaanschool and youth members of the Ugchelse Rangers. After the laying of wreaths there is time for the public to also bring a floral tribute. The ceremony takes about an hour and is musically supported by the Brass Band of the Royal Army National Reserve and traditionally by the City of Apeldoorn Pipes & Drums.
This press release formed the basis of a memorable commemoration in Apeldoorn. During the meeting, many representatives from the Netherlands and Canada were present. Obviously, the national anthems of Canada, Netherlands and the UK were played. Also the Last Post, the minute of silence, the Lament and Reveille were part of the ceremony.
In a very natural way all this was brought together in speeches by various attendees. Especially the “lectures” performed by Brigadier General J. bd Reitsma and the children of the Koninklijke Scholengemeenschap and the Heuvellaanschool of Apeldoorn supported by Chaplain Major Tim van Kesteren triggered the emotions.
A small part of the conversation with the chaplain and the children:
“In order not to forget it. That’s why we do this. If you have to remember something, you make sure you are reminded. Sometimes you have to remember that you should do something for example, we have our agenda. Sometimes you have to remember that something has happened. And we have a calendar.
I asked the students of the Heuvellaanschool on Monday whether they had ever heard from their parents or grandparents about the war stories. There were a lot of fingers in the air. Some of you told the stories of grandfathers and grandmothers who as a child experienced that a bomb fell a few houses away, or was taken by the Germans. And also stories of sadness because they have lost relatives in the war. We did not have the time to share all the stories with each other, but those few stories that we shared were particularly impressive.”
But also the poem Leo Vroman wrote at the Monument in Apeldoorn and was declaimed by a pupil of the Koninklijke Scholengemeenschap as part of a larger prospective:
As the echoes of a freedom bell
Last through a war with its At last,
So each welcome echoes with farewell,
And welcome to the past.
And finally a piece of an impressive story of Brigadier bd J. Reitsma:
“We all live prosperously 68 years in full freedom. And peace, which we take for granted, something that has always been there.
Therefore it is important that many young people from different schools are present here today. You experience a ceremony at which the sacrifices of soldiers for peace and freedom are commemorated. So we are all, young and old, confronted with the fact that peace and freedom are not obvious and that we must continue our efforts to get other people to be able to live in peace. In small freedom starts within yourself, by offering other people an area to live their lives as well.
Therefore, we think with great respect of the Canadians who brought the greatest sacrifice: their lives. “We will remember them. We will not forget them.”
These story-parts can be found in full size in the archives of RCL (in Dutch)
After the meeting there was a lunch “well served”, where everyone could meet.
The organization of this commemoration was held by RCL Branch 005 – all honours to Piet Polderdijk – and the Foundation Liberation 45. A beautiful Colour Party of course was also part of the ceremony.
Pictures can be observed in the RCL photo album LINKPersbericht: