September 1944

May 2016 Ray Nagel deceased

Ray Nagell
With sadness we received the news that Ray Nagell had passed away on May 21st 2016.
Ray was a steady and very welcome guest at the September commemorations in Eerde. He enjoyed the informal character of the ceremony and the contact with the people of Eerde. A visit to the adoption class was never missed on his annual trips to the country which he first visited 72 years ago as a passenger on a WACO glider. As a private in the 321st Glider Field Artillery Battaljon he did not only fight in the Netherlands but he also participated in the invasion in Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge.
Ray reached the beautiful age of 94 years. Our sympathy goes out to his wife Helen and others relatives and friends.
September 2015 Commemoration of the liberation
WW II veterans Ray Nagell and Vincent Spreanza as well as Army Attaché Leo Buzzerio fro mthe US Embassy in The Hague were present in Eerde to join in the celebration of the liberation on Seoptember 17th. There were also some relatives of US soldiers who had been killed in Eerde in 1944.
The children of the adoption class had nice speeches. some were in English which the foreign guests appreciated very much. Other speakers were the mayor of Veghel, Ina adema, chairman of the Airborne committee Eerde, Jos van der Doelen and of course LCOL. Christopher Judge of the 101st Airborne Division. After the ceremony there was a informal meeting at the windmill. The veterans took time to take a group picture with the adoption class before they joined the crowd.

September 2014  70th anniversary of the liberation

Pictures: André Jans
With an impressive memorial on September 17, 2014 the people of Eerde commemorated the liberation, 70 years ago. After a beautiful choir concert in the church the annual commemoration at the Geronimo monument took place. Several veterans of the 101st Airborne Division were in the front row as guests of honor. For Eerde and for the organizing Airborne Committee, it was a great honor that the ambassador of the United StatesTimothy Broas, was one of the speakers. Furthermore, we were honored that a detachment of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment attended the commemoration with their Color Guard.
Numerous flowers were laid as a tribute to all those who brought the greatest sacrifice in 1944 for our freedom.
After the ceremony, an "audio spot"of the 
Liberation Route was revealed and after that the World War II museum in the Eerdse mill was opened. The opening was inaugurated with a performance of the "Star Sisters" which the veterans enjoyed very much, as did the rest of the audience. The museum is modest in size but very interesting because the collection is based on special events and personal stories about the liberation of Eerde.

Click for more pictures from André Jans

Click for pictures from Jeroen Koppes (STIWOT)

December 2013

Bobby Hunter en Bob Wright deceased

Bobby Hunter          Bob Wright
Within two days the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment lost two of its finest men.
December 19th, Bobby Hunter passed away, as did Bob Wright on December 21st . Both were paratroopers who landed in the vivinity of Eerde in 1944, taking part in Operation Market Garden which led to the liberation of our village.
Being Lt. Bert Collier's radio man, Bobby Hunter was involved in the fierce fighting around Veghel and later on "The Island" and in the Ardennes. It wasn't until 60 years after the war that Bobby came back to the country he liberated. That visit led  a strong friendship between Bobby and his family and people of Eerde. Over the recent years, Bobby returned several times to Eerde, where he was very welcome guest, not in the least with the children of the adoption class.
Bob Wright was a medic in the 501st. He treated soldiers who were wounded in the battles and saved many lives, not only of allied soldiers, but also of civilians and even of Germans. Bob has also visited Eerde several times after the war.
We extend our deepest sympathies with  the families who are left behind.
17 september 2013 Ceremony in the pouring rain

Tom Verhagen plays "TAPS"
(photo Jeroen Koppes, STIWOT)
It seemed that the weather gods would spoil our annual commemoration of the liberation. Half an hour before the ceremony, it started to rain seriously. But it was that rain which caused a special atmosphere during the ceremony. It was clear that a large part of  the people of Eerde felt that attending this ceremony was important enough to come together no matter what the weather was like. Christopher Judge thanked the people for this in his speech, also on behalf of the veterans Ray Nagell and Vincent Speranza. They also saw how at the start of the commemoration people with their umbrellas were helping the band members to keep their instruments dry. This was a good example of how to solve problems together as a village community.
Juni 2012 Old and new adoption class meet John Nasea

John Nasea surrounded by children of the adoption group
On June 14th, the children of the 8th grade passed over their task as an adoptive group for the Airbore Monument to their successors. For this occasion, the Airborne Committee Eerde had arranged an educational day  togehter with volunteers of Warwheels '40-'45.
With authentic military vehicles the children of both classes - over 30 in number - were transported between different locations, where they were taught  about the liberation of our region. The actual transfer of the adoption task was performed by the veteran John Nasea, who pinned the famous torch on the children of the new adoption group.
September 2011 The windmill in Eerde is working again

John Primerano en Bobby Hunter
opened the restored windmill
A large group of volunteers had been working hard to get the Saint Anthony windmill operating again in time. It took one day of war to destroy the mill, but it cost ten years to restore it.  
On September 17th, Mayor Ina Adema of Veghel re-opened the windmill together with the Queen's commisioner
Wim van de Donk and 501 veterans Bobby Hunter and John Primerano.
The special bond between the windmill and the war history was clearly visible in the festivities. There was a re-enactors camp near the windmill and one of the highlights was the jumping of dozens of paratroopers on the original dropzone. 501 veteran Bobby Hunter saw his son Robert landing on practically the same field on which he landed exactly 67 years earlier. You can imagine how emotinal their reunion on the dropzone was. 

Watch the video to get an impression of the festivities.

Januari 2010 Prins Erwin and Adjutant Jos
Prins Erwin I
Prince Erwin I
Prince Erwin the first and Princess Elize reign over the village of Eerde in carnival time this year. In the community hall they were presented to the public on Januari 8th.
Erwin is well known as a member of the Airborne Committee and as an absolute expert on the war history of our village.
In his task as ruler over "Storks Country" he will be assisted by
Jos van der Doelen, the chairman of the Airborne Committee Eerde.

August 2009 Airborne Commitee Eerde becomes foundation

Villa Klondike

One of the most characteristic buildings in Veghel is "Villa "Klondike", which used to be Colonel Howard Johnson's headquarters in September 1944. Klondike was the code name for 501 HQ. In this very building the Foundation Airborne Committee Eerde was establishes on August 27, 2009.
Although the Airborne Committee has been active since 1981, it was never registered as an official organization. But with the big celebration of the 65th anniversary coming up, it seemed sensible to be a registered organization.
In return for the cooperation, the notary who resides in the building now, became a framed copy of the statement of gratitude which
Colonel Johnson had delivered to Doctor Kerssemakers a few days after the 501st had left Veghel. It was signed on October 7th, 1944, one day before Howard Johnson was killed.

May 2006 National Commemoration of the dead
Gilber L. Astin
Gilbert Lelie Astin
On Thursday 4 may 2006 was the Dutch National commemoration of the dead.
The commemoration began with a silent walk from the church to the Airborne monument.
At the monument there were speaches on behalf of the adoption class of the primary school, the city council of Veghel and the Airborne Committee Eerde
Pastor Hamers said a prayer and there was a floral tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.
Brass band De Echo Der Bergen played some sober music.
There was special attention for Gilbert L. Astin, a British soldier who was killed at the windmill in 1944 and who is burried in the churchyard of Eerde.

Read the story of Gilbert Astin's life.
September 2005 Re-enactment Camp in Eerde
DZ-A From September 16th to 18th there was an impressive army camp near the Airborne monument and the windmill. A large groep of re-enactors presented living history as a tribute to the 501 PIR, who had their Dropzone-A here on September 17th 1944.
Children of the primary schools in the region were invited to visit the camp on Friday September 16th. They were guided and the re-enactors answered all their questions.
On Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th the camp was open for public.
May 2005 American filmcrew in Eerde

Diet Eman
Diet Eman

Bill Sefton
Bill Sefton

Early May 2005, film makers of Storytelling Pictures from Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA came over to Eerde to shoot film for the documentary "With arms wide open". The documentary tells the story of the Dutch resistance in WW II and of the liberation of the Netherlands. 
Diet Eman, who was in the Dutch resistance and who lives in Grand Rapids now, is filmed in Kamp Vught and in other places, that are important in her stories. Her stories can also be read in her book "Things We Couldn't Say".
The team was also accompanied by Bill Sefton, a 501 veteran, and his wife Beth. Bill fought in the vicinity of Eerde, Veghel in September 1944. He was - among other places - filmed in the windmill of Eerde.
Bill wrote a book in 1994 about how he remembers his actions in WW II, which is called "It Was My War".
September 2004 60th Anniversary of the Liberation

Music from local artists
Every year we celebrate the landing of the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne division on september 17th 1944 as the start of our liberation. In september 2004, it was 60 years since operation  Market Garden took place.
In the community of Veghel there was a great celebration from September 17th to 19th. An important part of this celebration was a big event, which was held in Eerde on the field near the Geronimo monument and the windmill.

Click here for a video impression of the event.
September 2004 Julian J. Ewell bridge

Julian J. Ewell bridge
The bridge with which the new highway A 50 crosses the Zuid-Willemsvaart canal near Veghel will be called Julian J. Ewell bridge. The bridge is named after Lieutenant-colonel Julian J. Ewell. In September 1944 he was the commander of the 3rd battalion of  the 501st Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. This division had to capture all bridges between Eindhoven and Veghel. This job was carried out with success. Two other bridges over the canal were already named after American commanders. The bridge near the lock in Veghel was named after Maxwell Taylor, the bridge near Heeswijk-Dinther after Harry Kinnard.
September 2004 Market Garden trail

Floral tribute by OLAT
In 1994 walking club  OLAT made a hiking tour on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the southern Netherlands. The walkers went from Lommel (Belgium) to Nijmegen. After this tour the idea arose to turn the route into an official long distance walking path, which would be named "Market Garden Trail".
In January 2003 the scouting started. At the end of July the maps were ready in concept. The path will lead to many places and monuments that are related to Operation Market Garden.
The route will be officially opened on Friday, September 17 th, exactly 60 years after the landing of the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division.