Tulip Commemoration Thanks Canada’s War Presence in Holland
Prince George, B.C. – Members of the local Dutch community gathered at the Cenotaph with representatives of the armed forces, dignitaries and citizens on Saturday for the Dutch Canadian Tulip Commemoration.
The event is held to remember and pay homage to the liberation of Holland from German occupation in 1945 by Canadian soldiers. The First Canadian Army suffered 6,289 casualties including 1,481 fatalities.
The tulip was a gift in perpetuity to the Canadian people for providing a safe harbour to the Dutch Royal family during the Second World War. Upon their return home, the Dutch people sent 100,000 tulips to the nation capitol. Since then, the Dutch people have sent 10,000 tulip bulbs annually to Canada. The tulips in front of City Hall were in full, colourful bloom for Saturday’s 8th annual ceremony.
Emcee Henk Bekkering told those gathered that he is a survivor of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. He said some people, mistakenly, think that all Germans were Nazis but that’s not so. “Just to give you an example my mother was born and raised in Germany an immigrated to Holland in the early ‘30s, met my dad and got very involved with finding safe housing for Jewish families in Holland. She was a very proud German, but also a very proud Dutchman.”
Bekkering says “there are no winners in any war, there are only losers. The second World War, much like the first, was supposed to be the war to end all wars so that peace would be restored throughout and no country would be allowed to dominate the rest of the world. Now, 70 years later, the threat of war is more prevalent than ever Some of our superpowers today prided themselves on having weapons of mass destruction. Why not construction instead of mass destruction,” he asked.
He said “rather than just bombing the hell out of villages and towns all over the world, why not build safe housing for those living in makeshift refugee camps, even for those in Canada who are living on the street or in sub-standard housing.”
Councillor Susan Scott spoke on behalf of the City of Prince George and noted “both of my parents served in the Canadian Armed Forces and I particularly think of my mother. She was on Parliament Hill when the tulips were presented to the Canadian government, and she also visited Holland during the war.”
Scott continued “it’s vital to all of us to come together and celebrate these important occasions and as I look at the young people gathered around our cenotaph, may they never experience what you experienced.”