Saturday, 28 June 2008

Veterans' Day

Today is Veterans' Day in Holland. It is a fairly new phenomenon, which was first observed in 2005 on the birthday of the late Prince Bernhard, who died in 2004 at the age of 93. The formal part of proceedings took place in the city of Den Haag [The Hague]. A fly-past and a march-past took place in the centre, and the parade was taken by HRH Prince Willem Alexander, the Prince of Orange and future King of the Netherlands.

The three branches of the Dutch armed forces, Navy, Army and Airforce, were represented in that order. Veterans took part who had taken part in war and peace missions from the 1950s onwards. Dutch military had served in Korea in the 1950s, the New Guinea crisis (1950-1962), Unifil [Lebanon], Balkans and Afghanistan. The (old) soldiers appreciated immensely the presence of a sizeable crowd along the route. The most important matter to them was recognition for the work they had done in the past, sometimes not so distant in time. For many, their experiences are as vivid today as they were at the actual moment.

In the past, on returning from their tour of duty, the politicians, the armed forces and the general public were apathetic to the needs of the veterans. To this day, it is shown that some are not just affected by physical injury, but even more so by psychological damage. Post-traumatic stress disorder, the shell-shock from World War I, is not an imaginary condition.

I have often written on the Northern Trip journal that the military get blamed for going on controversial missions (Iraq is a case in point), which is not fair. The politicians take the decisions, which the armed forces have to carry out. Blame the politicians. Not the soldiers.

5 comments:

lsfp1960 said...

It's pathetic how stupid some people are.  To blame the troops, out their putting their lives on the line.  It shouldn't take a mental giant to figure out the armed forces are sent to where ever the "powers that be" want them to go.  It's a shame that "Veterans Day" in most peace loving countries goes pretty much ignored. I'm glad that in Holland today, people took time to honor the veterans.  Linda in sunny & hot Washington state

rdautumnsage said...

I couldn't agree more about blaming the politicians and not the soldiers. (Hugs)Indigo

sybilsybil45 said...

I am glad that at last your vetrans are gettingtheir well deserved recognition.  We haev had a lovely day here...no rain !!...Mary and I went out for a delicious lunch to celebrate her birthday. The pub we went to sits on the Kennet and Avon Canal and there were quite a few narrow boats moored up.  Love Sybil xx

justplainbill said...

Guido, I noticed you did not mention any WWII veterans. Probably an oversight? Bill

veluweman said...

In response to Bill: I deliberately omitted the WWII veterans, as they were not mentioned on the TV footage. Doesn't necessarily mean they were not there. Bear in mind though, that all of these men are now over 80.