Brunssum, the Netherlands
– Saturday 04 May the annual Dutch Remembrance Day service was
conducted in Brunssum.
The dignified Remembrance started with a church service at the St. Gregorius Church. Short on
completion of a moving service, attendees formed a parade behind the JFC Brunssum Flag Party and
proceeded to the Brunssum Cemetery. On arrival, two minutes of silence was observed in respect of
those buried in the cemetery who paid the ultimate price so that we can live in peace today. Following
this the Acting Mayor of Brunssum, Mr Gerd Leers, made a short speech in both Dutch and English.
To the sound of background music performed by Fanfare St. Barbara wreaths were laid. First the Acting
Mayor of Brunssum, Mr Leers, on behalf of the Town Council, laid a wreath together with Mr Kahlen, on
behalf of the city of Alsdorf, Germany (partner city of Brunssum). Having each paid their respects they
turned to face each other and shook hands – a symbol of friendship and lasting peace that was repeated
by all wreath layers at the Brunssum Cemetery. Amongst others, the Mayors were followed by Mr and
Mrs Aldewereld (on behalf of the State of Israel and the Israeli people) and General Riccardo Marchiò,
Commander JFC Brunssum, on behalf of the personnel of Joint Force Command Brunssum. Then came
Brigadier General Henny Bouman, on behalf of the Dutch Forces serving at JFC Brunssum, and Colonel
Günter Thiermann, on behalf of the German Forces at the Headquarters. Major General Carl Alex, on
behalf of American personnel at JFC Brunssum was paired with Colonel Bas Pellemans, who laid his
wreath on behalf of personnel serving at the NATO AWACS Early Warning Force, E3A Component, at
At the adjacent British War Cemetery a similar ceremony was conducted. This ceremony included, inter
alia, wreaths being laid by the Mayor of Brunssum, Mr Leers, on behalf of the municipality of Brunssum,
by Lieutenant General Stuart Skeates on behalf of the British Forces and community at JFC Brunssum,
and by General Marchiò on behalf of all personnel serving at JFC Brunssum.
Local people, adopters of the graves, students and scouts laid flowers at the 328 British servicemen’s
graves and lit candles in their honour. The ceremony ended with the UK national anthem.
A wonderful service, once again attended by a large number of dignitaries and local people, came to a
close as the sun was setting. The formal part of the event was then followed by a reception at the Brikke
Oave where VIPs, veterans and local people shared their thoughts, renewed old acquaintances and
made new friends.
More photos available on Flick
Story by JFCBS Public Affairs Office