A large number of soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, who are now stationed in Eastern Europe, were able to attend the commemoration in Eerde. They were paratroopers from this same unit that landed at Eerde on September 17, 1944 as part of Operation Market Garden. Every year on September 17, this event is commemorated and the liberation is celebrated. WWII veteran Vincent Speranza was also there again.
The mayor of Meierijstad, Kees van Rooij, spoke first, followed by Ms. Aleisha Woodward, Chargé d'Affaires at the US Embassy in the Netherlands and then Col. Matthaidess of the 101st Airborne Division and Jos van der Doelen as chairman of the Airborne Comité Eerde. As always, the children of the adoption class also contributed. The musical intermezzos were provided by Muziekvereniging Meierijstad. The anthems were played by the 101st Airborne Division Band, who also gave a performance after the ceremony from the Sint Antonius windmill.
Source: USA Defense Flash News
With a limited number of guests, including Ambassador Pete Hoekstra of the United States, the liberation was commemorated on September 17, 2020 in Eerde. The music of the ensemble Hans and Meike Verhagen and the singing of Anne-Marie van de Laar were very appropriate for this occasion.
With the song "Memory", Anne-Marie paid tribute to her cousin Han van Engelen who was infected by with the Covid-19 virus as a doctor and unfortunately did not survive this. Han was the son of Piet van Engelen who posed for photographer Van Eerd in front of the Lambertus church in Veghel on 17 September 1944, with two liberators to whom he had offered his bicycle as a means of transport. Han was proud of his father and every year he came from Zaandam to the little town of Eerde to remember the liberators and his father.
After the wreaths were laid, Hans and Meike Verhagen played "Taps" and also the American and English National Anthem.
In conclusion, the Wilhelmus was sung by Anne-Marie.
Video by Femke Hagens
Due to the COVID-19 virus, the annual commemoration of the dead could not take place on May 4, 2020, at least not with an audience. During the day, mayor Kees van Rooij placed a wreath at each of the war memorials in the municipality of Meierijstad. This happened at an unannounced time, to prevent the wreath-laying from unintentionally attracting an audience.
In the afternoon ambassador Pete Hoekstra came to lay a wreath on behalf of the United States of America.
The Airborne Committee Eerde layed flowers at the English war graves and then placed a wreath at the monument. This was concluded with the Last Post, played by Hans Verhagen.
Source: Airborne Comittee Eerde
One of the many highlights of the celebration of 75 freedom was the commemoration in Eerde. The many attending veterans were thanked and honored for their role in the liberation.
Source: Omroep Meierij
During his visit to the adoption class in Eerde, Vincent Speranza taught the children the "Paratrooper song". On September 17, after the annual commemoration, Vincent and the children sang this song at the Geronimo monument.
This was a history lesson the kids will never forget.
Source: Eddy Bertels
75 years after their first jump, veterans Jim 'Pee Wee' Martin (98) and Vincent Speranza (94) made a memorial jump. They landed on the fields near Eerde, which was the drop zone for the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment on 17 September 1944. They were welcomed by the children of the adoption class from Eerde.
The commemorative jump was organized by the Round Canopy Parachuting Team Netherlands.
Group 8 of primary school "Petrus en Paulus" in Eerde handed over the care of the Geronimo monument to their successors, currently group 7. This class will contribute to the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation. The Airborne Committee Eerde, together with the Eerde Windmill Foundation, provided a special history lesson.
What happened on September 17th, 1944, the day that American soldiers set foot on Eerde's soil to liberate Brabant?
Source: Omroep Brabant
The restored windmill in Eerde was reopened on 17 September 2011, by 501 veterans Bobby Hunter and John Primerano.
In an interview John tells about his remarkable parachute landing in 1944 and about the appreciation of the Dutch people for the liberators.
In between, images of the re-enactment camp at the windmill are shown.
Source: Skyline TV
This interview is taken from a report of the opening of the windmill, which you can watch here.
Report on the adoption transfer in 2008, a fun and educational afternoon in which the children learn about the war history of their own village. This is an unforgettable day for the children, especially because of the rides with authentic army vehicles from Warwheels 40-45.
Source: Skyline TV
Bobby Hunter, D-company 501 PIR, gave an interview in September 2006 to support fundraising for the restoration of the windmill in Eerde.
Source: Endemol Productions
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