Royal Canadian Legion branch 005 attends Leiden
By: Philip van Leeuwen
Last Saturday, 29th March 2014 the third annual Military History Day was held in the Dutch town of Leiden. Centre stage would as always be the ancient Hoogland church in which the public would be presented with every aspect of military tradition. This being in the form of static displays, old WWII vehicles, re-enactment, militaria booths and the main focus, musical performances by The Band of Liberation Pipes and Drums.
The day began around 10 am and shortly after midday a grand military parade took place which ran through the busy streets of downtown Leiden. This parade was reviewed by a number of dignitaries among them retired General, Mr. Ted Meines. The evening was concluded in a grand manner with a concert given by The Band of Liberation accompanied by the well-known English top singer Rebecca Robinson.
In short an environment in which perhaps a representation of the Royal Canadian Legion may well be in place. This turned out to be no misjudgment. In the course of the entire day RCL 005’s promotion stand stood outside in front of the church doors, under a radiant sun. The many questions asked and remarks made by the many interested by-passers were diligently answered by yours truly and Mr. and Mrs. Visser. Although we were not quite in the right time period, poppies were made available and the public generously donated. It was furthermore remarkable that we were addressed by so many Canadians. Their surprise was enormous to discover a delegation of the for them well known, Royal Canadian Legion in the far off town of Leiden. The many other interested people in the crowd often shared interesting stories with us of the far past or offered good tips for the future.
The evening programmed inside the Church was certainly very fine but in these latter hours there was less interest in the brochures of RCL 005. Nevertheless we can look back to a successful event in which RCL 005 presented itself to the public in Leiden. I wish to thank Mr. and Mrs. Visser very much for having assisted me.
Philip Van Leeuwen