Alexandra Hatting (standing behind the microphone) talks about the Faces to Graves project. During the ceremony at the Canadian war cemetery, Sunday's duties were further wreath laying by, among others, Princess Margriet and the mayors of Bergen-Op-Zoom, Woensdrecht and Steenbergen. Young people also laid flowers at the memorial monument. (Text and photos: Han Verbeem)
BERGEN-OP-ZOOM – Today, Sunday 27 October 2019 at 4.40 pm – the moment this article was published – it is exactly 75 years ago that Bergen-Op-Zoom was liberated. With 75 years of liberation, the moment gradually comes when only a few can still tell the horrors of the war firsthand. Yet the Second World War is not forgotten. Young people in particular are very interested in the period in our history. This was also demonstrated by the commemoration at the Canadian war cemetery, Sunday morning. Because it was mainly young people of barely 20 who died in the Battle of the Scheldt.
Alexandra Hattink is a 16-year-old student who, through the Faces to Graves project, has delved into the background of one of the fallen Canadian soldiers: Melvin Alexander Danielson, a soldier with the South Alberta regiment. "He grew up in Stockholm, Canada, with his 11 brothers and sisters," says Alexandra. "In his spare time, he played the violin, collected stamps, and engaged in softball and baseball. He was a good student but left school to help his father on the farm. Melvin's oldest brothers were all sent to Europe as soldiers." At just the age of 18, Melvin joined the company and took a six-month training course in England. Arriving in the Netherlands, he was seriously injured after only 16 days in an attack on his tank. "A German soldier tried to save Melvin. He brought him, waving a homemade white flag, to a Canadian field hospital." Two days later, Melvin died of his injuries.
The war is big and small at the same time
"The project taught me that the war is huge and small at the same time," Alexandra tells. "The great is the destruction and ultimately liberation of our country. The small is the end of a life that had just begun." We must never forget their sacrifices and especially: be grateful for our freedom, Alexandra concludes her impressive story.
Song from Oorlogswinter
More young people were present at the ceremony at the Canadian war cemetery, where Princess Margriet also laid a wreath. A group of students from the Roncalli sang a song from the musical Oorlogswinter (War Winter). Afterwards the students each placed a red Gerbera flower at the memorial monument.
(Video) Princess Margriet lays the wreath at the memorial monument in the Canadian cemetery.