The following is a word-for-word synopsis taken from my experience 10 years
A couple of years before I was born, my father started taking his passion, love, and inexhaustible energy for the Battlefield History of Europe and poured it into the design and implementation of tours for Canadians to remember.
From a very early age, my sister and I were dragged along, summer after summer, across the Battlefields of Europe to assist with our father's tours in any way we could. Although our fellow travellers were much older (much much older!) we loved the tours, and came back to Canada with new perspectives every year. With all of the Battlefield experiences under my belt however, none struck me more than the the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland.
Even at the young age of sixteen, it was the Liberation of Holland Tour that had changed my life, and undoubtedly, every Canadian who joined us that year.
So, to commemorate this year, the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland, ten years since my last tour, I decided to rummage around my attic. Amongst pictures and old brochures, pamphlets and invitations...I had kept a scrapbook of my favorite tour: The Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland.
Excuse my lack of professionalism and overuse of exclamation marks in the following notes, I tried as best I could to copy this scrapbook word for word.
My Invitation to Holland’s 60th Anniversary Tour for our Canadian Veterans, Friends, Family, and fellow Proud Canadians:
“The tide had turned in Europe in the Spring of 1945, but Canadians were still here fighting and dying in Hitler’s war. Tasked with Liberating Holland and its people from Nazi occupation, our young soldiers forged ahead until freedom was finally won. The Dutch have never forgotten the sacrifice. 60 years later, their unwavering gratitude is captured as thousands gather for VE Day Celebrations in the Netherlands and at home. You’ll join ceremonies held at two Canadian cemeteries in the Netherlands, and witness a sincere tribute by young Dutch children to those who died. Experience Liberation Day Celebrations in Wageningen, the City where Canadians accepted German Surrender. And in Apledoorn, the Parade of Canadian Veterans that always moves the crowds to tears”
–The Connection Tours Team
Day 1, May 2nd 2005
I am, right now, on a Boeing 747 to Amsterdam, getting ready for the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland Tour. We are getting ready to land. [Already looking out the window] I’ve seen a beautiful coastline, and lots of lush farm land. There are a lot of rivers! And I just saw my first windmill...yes... Just now.
We arrive at our hotel, the Mercure in Rosmalen, after visiting a lovely fishing port. Finally getting my first taste at the Dutch cuisine: Smoked Salmon! Remarkably tasty.
Tomorrow, we are going to a Liberation Museum. I’ve already met the veterans on tour, and I can’t wait to tell of their stories!! Anyways, tomorrow will be way cooler!!!
Day 2, May 3rd 2005
Today we woke up early to catch the coach, which would take us into Groesbeek! On the way, we went to the Liberation Museum where we saw models of soldiers, old pictures, a letter from a soldier to his Dutch wife-to-be, and much more. I learned that Canadian soldiers took many Dutch women home to be their brides. Unfortunately, the brides were extremely poor, so they used parachute material for their gowns.
At the Museum, I met Charlie. Charlie is a
After meeting Charlie, Jeff and I walked through the rest of the museum with a different eye. It is truly mind blowing what our history is.
It was here that I met Dad’s other tour managers: Peter, Doug, and Jim. I also met our coach drivers!!…The Best Dutchmen you
After the museum, we attended a ceremony in Groesbeek Cemetery. It was a large event honoring the Canadians who fought for the Netherlands. Adrienne Clarkson, Queen Beatrice, and Canada’s Foreign Minister of Affairs were some of the guests who arrived for the ceremony. There were speeches and we sang both national anthems. This was followed by an air show performed by the Canadian Forces Parachute team, The “SkyHawks”…this…absolutely blew me away…the coolest thing by far I have ever witnessed in real life…ever…in my life…so cool!!!!!!!!!!!