Remembrance at its best
Imagine over 100,000 people gathered along a parade route to celebrate and honour Canadian veterans of the Second World War? That’s exactly what happened in Apeldoorn, a beautiful city in the Netherlands, on May 8, 2005 during the National Veterans Parade. This parade marks the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi Germany. And simply put, it was a remarkable sight. Something I will never forget. During the parade, as 350 vintage war-time vehicles carried 1,700 Canadian veterans along a tree-lined street, the throng of happy, smiling people of all ages pushed up against the vehicles with hands out offering a drink, flowers, flags and most of all thanks. Sixty years later everyone there was still so happy to see the their liberators, men they they called “their Canadians.” And the veterans, in response, to this emotional outpouring of gratitude seemed to stand a little taller, smile a little broader and for those who marched along the route, it was easy to see in them the young men they had once been. This is why we remember, why we pause today, even for a moment, to say thanks. These men – and women – gave up years of their lives (and many gave their lives) for the greater good and for that we owe them so much. So veterans everywhere, thank you.