Netherlands honours Canada's 'priceless gift'National Post ~ May 6, 2010
BERGEN-OP-ZOOM, Netherlands -- Canadian veterans and dignitaries attended a solemn ceremony of remembrance on Thursday to honour the lives lost during the Second World War that ended 65 years ago.
The sun was shining brightly upon those gathered at Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery near the border of the Netherlands and Belgium, where 968 Canadian soldiers are buried. Most of the fallen who lie here lost their lives while fighting to liberate the Netherlands.
Small Canadian flags are planted in the dirt in front of many of the graves.
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper were joined on stage at the hour-long ceremony by youth and veterans from both of their countries.
Mr. Harper drew a connection between the generations of the past and those of the future in his speech.
"When the living come to salute the dead, our words speak loudest to those whose lives still lay before them," Mr. Harper said.
Such remembrance ceremonies as the one held Thursday teach today's youth about their country's history and how they should live in the future, the prime minister noted.
"In such a place as this, you may understand how our land, Canada, gives birth to greatness," said Mr. Harper. "Would you wish to know what heroism is? Look here. Do you want to know what it means to be a citizen? Look here. Would you, a lifetime awaiting you, know how you should live? Then look here, and look all about you. Where only heroes rest."
Mr. Harper thanked the veterans and their fallen comrades for their sacrifices. He said Canadian soldiers 65 years ago and Canadian soldiers today share a common goal.
"This army of Canadians fought then for the only thing our country fights to this day: That which is right," he said.
The Dutch prime minister also spoke of the importance of passing on the stories of war, and of the peace that followed, to youth.
"The priceless gift" of freedom must be cherished and given to others, Mr. Balkenende said.
He also thanked the veterans for bringing freedom to his country.
"Our liberators, our heroes. Forever," he said.
Following the speeches two young Canadians and a Dutch youth read the Commitment to Remember in English, French and Dutch. Then Last Post was played followed by a minute of silence. Wreaths were laid by Mr. Harper, Mr. Balkenende and others at the base of a large stone cross.
Thursday's ceremony was one of many held throughout the Netherlands this week to mark the 65th anniversary of its liberation from Nazi rule. More than 7,600 Canadians lost their lives in battles to free the Dutch people.
Correspondence from Marco Hogenkamp in Holland
May 6, 2010
Hereby some photos from the parade in Enschede on Wednesday May 05th.
Art Lyon made it to Holland again and we invited him to take part in the parade.
There were thousands of spectators applauding for him and I could hear him joke with the audience continuously so I think he enjoyed himself!
On Youtube there is a video also, around 6.40 you see us passing.
click for larger images
Shilo soldiers prepare for Netherlands marchBrandon Sun ~ May 5, 2010
Soldiers from Canadian Forces Base Shilo are preparing to participate in the prestigious annual Nijmegen marches held in Holland this year from July 20-23.
Throughout May and June, residents of Brandon will see the team training in and around Brandon on the vast system of paved walkways and trails in the city.
The Nijmegen march is a team-oriented operation that develops core military values as leadership, teamwork and endurance. Physically and mentally strong individuals make up each team and are key to its success.
To be chosen for this contingent, soldiers are expected to complete months of rigorous training. In preparation for the 160-km, four-day march, each marcher will walk approximately 700 km with a 10 kg rucksack.
The Nijmegen marches are a prestigious international event in which the Canadian Forces have been participating since the Second World War. Canadian soldiers were responsible for liberating the area around Nijmegen and return annually to pay their respects at the Groesbeek Commonwealth War Cemetery. The cemetery is the final resting-place of more than 2,300 Canadian soldiers and airmen who died during the liberation of Holland in 1944 and 1945.
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