Speech by Princess Margriet in Liberation Park, Goderich, Canada

It is a great pleasure for my husband and me to join you today in the Liberation Park to commemorate the liberation of the Netherlands and the pivotal role Canada played in giving us back our freedom. My husband and I hold Canada very dear to our hearts.

For us it is all the more special to be here in a commemorative year such as this, 2017!

In the Netherlands we celebrate our liberation every month of May and we underline the important role young Canadian servicemen and women played in achieving lasting freedom for us.

The heroic deeds of the Canadian military, including soldiers from Huron County, were decisive in the liberation of Holland and in bringing the war in Europe to an end. The 20 soldiers from this County who were killed lie to rest in the cemeteries of Groesbeek, Holten and Bergen op Zoom, where  we have attended many commemorative ceremonies.

To keep this memory alive, Dutch schoolchildren tend the graves in these cemeteries.

In this way the ties that bind us together are extended and transferred from generation to generation. Every year we see an increased attendance and interest in the events commemorating the second World War. We witnessed this again last week at the ceremony we attended in Holland.

The war may be a long time ago, but our gratitude for the courageous efforts of young Canadian men and women has remained. We will remember them. We all have a responsibility to pass these memories on to next generations.

The tensions in today’s world make us realise that freedom and peace cannot be taken for granted. We have to stay alert to see the signs that are a threat to our democracies. That is why we should remember and stay vigilant. It is not a matter of course that we can enjoy freedom, it is not a matter of course that this is a given.

This monument will remind future generations of residents and visitors of the crucial role that Canada played in our countries’ history. It also represents the close ties that were developed since, between our two countries.

I hope that when people linger in this park they will give the plaques a moment’s thought – as to why this park was named: Liberation Park. To remember.

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