Brunssum, The Netherlands – Thursday 17 November the 22nd international remembrance service was conducted at the Monument of Tolerance, at Leudal. Every year on the Thursday closest to 17 November (the date of liberation of the Leudal area in WWII) veterans from The Netherlands and abroad, representatives of many organisations and a host of national/international dignitaries gather at this monument to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy today, together. The highlight of the commemoration service every year is the collective wreath laying that concludes the event by a Dutch, German and English veteran, demonstrating that tolerance is possible amongst former adversaries.
Amongst others, wreaths were laid by: Mayor Désirée Schmalschläger (Mayor of Luedal Municipality) on behalf of the people of the municipality; H.E. Mrs Susannah Gordon (New Zealand Ambassador to The Netherlands) on behalf of the people of New Zealand; Brigadier General Ronald Rietbergen (Assistant Chief of Staff (Logistics) JFC Brunssum, on behalf of the leadership and staff of the HQs; and Colonel Roderick Heatlie (Assistant Chief of Staff (Medical) JFC Brunssum, on behalf of the British contingent at JFC Brunssum.
Note: This Monument was unveiled on 08 March 2001 as a reminder of the war years 1940 -1945 and of the more than 800 soldiers of 11 nationalities who lost their lives in the Leudal area.
The Monument of Tolerance is a regional monument. It is a lasting memory of the military who lost their lives in the overall territory of the present municipality of Leudal, the territory of the municipality of Nederweert which lies east of the Wessem-Nederweert canal and the Noordervaart, and the territory of the municipalities of Maasgouw and Roermond, which lies east of the River Meuse.
The sculpture, cast in bronze, was made by Thea Houben from Roggel. It consists of a half arc on an equilateral triangle that symbolizes the Divine. The seagulls represent freedom. The sword with the laurel wreath and the clasped hands indicate the struggle that has been fought and the fraternization over death. The base of the monument is closed with boulders, one for every soldier killed. The red rays in the pavement symbolize the nationalities of the fallen.