Reflections on Sixty Years of Freedom in the Netherlands – 2005

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 2010 – The six British Columbia regiments, which helped liberate the Netherlands in 1944 and 1945 from its brutal Nazi oppressor, each received an oak-mounted plaque commemorating the country’s regained freedom.  Okanagan-based Dutch-born sculptor Geert Maas made twelve such bronze plaques.  The other six will become the property of sponsors.

Organizer J. Herman van Wermeskerken of the Dutch-Canadians Enjoying 60 Years of Freedom group also held a “Host a Veteran” dinner party.  Ten years earlier, a similar event was held at a Vancouver armoury.  Members of the (Dutch-Canadian) community were invited to purchase tickets, in even multiples, one for a veteran and one for themselves as host.  The dinner was preceded by a wreath-laying ceremony and a symposium on the occupation and liberation of The Netherlands.

Attendees could take a veteran friend along but also opt for one from the pool of available names.  A campaign enlisted support from the community.  The 2005 anniversary was then viewed as the last collective opportunity to echo the sentiment “Thank You, Liberators.”