We’ve got our Remembrance Day, and so do they.
At the same time that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands laid a wreath at the Dutch National War Memorial in Amsterdam, Ottawa’s Dutch community — in a parallel move — paid homage to Canadian veterans who gave their lives for the freedom of the Dutch people at the National War Memorial Monday.
“Since we feel one with them, we are doing the same here today,” Dutch Ambassador H.E. Wim Geerts said at Monday's wreath laying ceremony.
“Why? Because freedom isn’t free and it isn’t to be taken for granted.”
May 4, Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, is a day to honour the victims of war. It is customary to observe two minutes of silence at 8 p.m.
While the event honours those who died in the war, there will be new fallen heroes, said Geerts. “It’s important to remember that lest we forget.”
While more than 7,600 Canadians died in the Netherlands during the Second World War, approximately 7,000 are buried in the three Canadian war cemeteries located in the towns of Holten, Bergen-Op-Zoom and Groesbeek, said spokeswoman for the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Anna Rijk.
“Today is the day we remember those who fell for our freedom,” said Geerts. “It’s an important event, not to forget those who died.”
Years later, there is a lot of respect and gratitude within the Dutch community for Canadians who fought for the freedom of the Dutch in the war, Geerts said.
Following the ceremony, dozens of attendees laid tulips at the base of the monument in honour of those who died.