Brunssum, Netherlands – 4 May, the annual Netherlands remembrance
services were conducted at Brunssum. Services
commenced with a well-attended International Ecumenical Service at the
Gregorius Church led by Pastoor-Deken Delahaye and Chaplain Mitchell; on
completion, attendees formed a parade, behind the AFNORTH Cadets Colour Guard,
to make their way to the Brunssum General Cemetery.
At the General Cemetery opening remarks were made by Mayor Winants both
in English and Dutch. His thoughtful words were based around a central theme of continued struggle for peace via
sacrifice, shared values and sustained vigilance. But, most of all, he emphasised the debt owed
by us all to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy
freedom and security today. Wreaths were laid in pairs, with accompanying music by the wind section of the Harmony
Orchestra, Brunssum, in the following order:
- Mayor Winants on behalf of the Brunssum Town Council, together with Mr Krämer, Deputy Mayor of Alsdorf, Germany (partner city of Brunssum);
- Mr Gaillard on behalf of the State of Israel and the Israeli people together with General Farina, on behalf of the personnel of JFC Brunssum;
- Brigadier General Bouman, on behalf of the Dutch Forces serving at JFC Brunssum together with Colonel Bücklein, on behalf of the German Forces at JFC Brunssum;
- Colonel Moreland, Deputy Component Commander, on behalf of the NATO AWACS Early Warning Force E3A Component Geilenkirchen, together with Chief Inspector of Police de Haas.
- Squadron Leader Thompson RAF (Rtd.) on behalf of the Royal Air Forces Association, Amsterdam Branch, together with Mr Stevens on behalf of Dutch Veterans;
- Mrs Herings and Mrs Krekels on behalf of Amnesty International (Brunssum), together with Mrs van Laanen-Hendriks and students on behalf of the LVO Parkstad/Emmacollege;
- Mr Roos and Mr Van der Sterren on behalf of the Scouting Association.
On completion, each pair shook hands to symbolise the importance of
friendship and tolerance whilst, at the end, an opportunity was provided for
individuals to lay wreaths. Following this Mr Bindels (master of ceremonies) recited the names of Brunssumers who
have laid down their lives in the pursuit of peace. The Dutch National Anthem was played before
attendees proceeded to the British War Cemetery.
Once formed at the British War Cemetery an opening prayer was given by
Chaplain Mitchell. This was immediately followed by a special citation from the Dutch Forces Rabbi Gaillard. Wreaths were laid by the following:
- Mayor Winants on behalf of the Brunssum community;
- Group Captain Jones RAF on behalf of the British Forces and Community at JFC Brunssum;
- General Farina, on behalf of the personnel of JFC Brunssum;
- Squadron Leader Thompson RAF (Rtd.), Chairman Royal Air Force Association, Amsterdam Branch;
- Commander Van der Padt RNLN (Rtd.) on behalf of the Veterans of ‘Eldershoes’;
- Mr Stigter and Mr van der Weele on behalf of the ‘Veterans Brunssum’;
- Mr Heuts and Mr Houben on behalf of Geüniformeerden Ontmoetings-Centrum, Parkstad, Wounded Warriors Zuid;
- Mrs Baar on behalf of the Stichting War Cemetery Brunssum.
Subsequently, pupils from Brunssum Primary Schools and Limburg Scouts
laid flowers and placed a lit candle on each of the 328 graves. Individuals were also provided an opportunity
to lay flowers. The last post was followed
by a minutes’ silence before the ceremony concluded with the UK National
For more pictures, click here.Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office