Dutch prime minister thanks American liberators

May 24, 2015, 8:18 AM

MARGRATEN, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte paid tribute Sunday at a Memorial Day ceremony to U.S. troops who fought and died liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation in World War II, while NATO’s supreme commander said the fight to defend freedom continues to this day.

Thousands of people sat under blue skies and wispy white clouds for Sunday’s ceremony at the American cemetery in Margraten, a manicured patch of 65.5 acres (26.5 hectares) in the rolling hills of the southern province of Limburg that contains 8,301 headstones.

The cemetery is on land close to the Dutch border with Germany that was liberated from Nazi occupation on Sept. 13, 1944, by the U.S. 30th Infantry Division.

“We say thank you to our liberators,” Rutte said. “Thank you for enabling us to stand here today in freedom, and we bow our heads in memory of the fallen.”

Among the thousands of people attending the solemn ceremony were orphans of soldiers who were buried or are listed as missing at Margraten.

Arthur Chotin, whose father was killed in a jeep accident in the aftermath of the war and is buried at Margraten, thanked Dutch families who have adopted all of the graves at the cemetery, helping to keep alive the memory of the dead.

“Even though I didn’t know him, I think of him almost every day. What he missed and what my mother and I missed,” Chotin said. “So here I am. 70 years old, more than twice the age of the father I never played catch with, never argued with, never even hugged. And the single thought in my mind today is that I hope he would be proud of me.

“Oh, the power these dead have over those they left behind.”

NATO’s supreme commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, reminded the crowd that the freedom Allied soldiers died defending in World War II cannot be taken for granted. “Recent world events have shown us the concept of armed conflict in Europe remains possible,” he said.

“We must be vigilant if we are going to preserve democracy and freedom,” Breedlove said. “It is important that we celebrate the courage of the youth of yesterday but we must also support the youth of today as our service members continue to defend the values forever enshrined here.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

World News

A fisherman watches smoke rise after Russian forces launched a missile attack on a military unit in...
Associated Press

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters hit by drone strike

An explosive device carried by a makeshift drone blew up Sunday at the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean Peninsula.
9 days ago
Medical syringes are seen with 'Monkeypox' sign displayed on a screen in the backgound in this illu...
Associated Press

Monkeypox declared a global emergency by UN health agency

The expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that qualifies as a global emergency.
17 days ago
Chinese paramilitary policemen march in front of the Japanese embassy where the Japanese flag is fl...
Associated Press

Japan’s ex-leader Shinzo Abe assassinated during a speech

TOKYO (AP) — Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated Friday on a street in western Japan by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind as he delivered a campaign speech — an attack that stunned a nation with some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere. The 67-year-old Abe, who was Japan’s […]
1 month ago
Firefighters hose down a burning car after a strike hit a residential area, in Kramatorsk, Donetsk ...
Associated Press

Russia taking ‘operational pause’ in Ukraine, analysts say

Analysts say Russia may be taking an "operational pause" in eastern Ukraine to reassemble forces for a significant offensive.
1 month ago
Prime Minister Boris Johnson enters 10 Downing Street, after reading a statement in London, Thursda...
Associated Press

One scandal too many: British PM Boris Johnson resigns

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday after droves of top government officials quit over the latest scandal to engulf him, marking an end to three tumultuous years in which he tried to bluster his way through one ethical lapse after another. Months of defiance ended almost with a shrug as […]
1 month ago
Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Dutch prime minister thanks American liberators