An impressive tribute to freedom

(Text and photos: Han Verbeem)

BERGEN-OP-ZOOM – On Saturday afternoon the Grote Markt was entirely devoted to the commemoration of 75 years of liberation. After the military salute of the Canadian regiments, there was a parade with old vehicles and (music) groups from both military units and associations from West Brabant. A few squadrons of historic aircraft also flew over. The parade was conducted by the three mayors of Brabantse Wal, parade inspector R. Bauer (Commander of the Armed Forces LADM) and Parade Commander Colonel M. Kamstra (Commander of the airbase in Woensdrecht).

At the stroke of 15.00 the 'Battle of the Scheldt' flag was hoisted at the Town Hall, under the sounds of the 'Heroes of the Scheldt' march. This was followed by the parade with participants from both Canada and the Netherlands. The march was also performed after the parade. Grandstands were set up on the west and south side of the Grote Markt for the hundreds of visitors. At the height of the town hall there were seats for invited guests and veterans.

Participants parade

The Canadian representations in the parade were: Lincoln & Welland Regiment, Color Party Royal Canedian Legion, South Alberta Light Horse Regiment, Lake Superior Scottic Regiment. The participants from the Netherlands: Harmony Oransje-Nassau, Veterans West Brabant and Zeeland, Inter Scaldis Pipes & Drums, Royal Marine Squadron CER / ICMS, Reunion Orchestra Artillery Trumpet corps, Garderegiment Fuseliers Princess Irene, Fanfare Corps National Reserve, Reunion Orchestra Regiment Van Heutsz, Royal Air Force (Woensdrecht), drum band Odiles Rapid, the fire brigade, running club De Wandelende Krabben, Wachtpost 13 XXXL, De Vierschaar (Supersum) and the Band of Liberation. A parade of military vehicles followed, mainly historic tanks, off-road vehicles and motorbikes. The replica of the Sherman tank was set up at hotel De Draak.

(Video) The official start at 15.00 on the Grote Markt, with a military ceremony.

(Video) This fire engine from 1946 was used immediately after the war and until 1972 by the Bergse fire brigade. Nowadays the antique vehicle only drives during parades.

(Video) And there they are … the musicians of the Wachtpost 13 XXL company, dressed in the fashion of the 40s.