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Netherlands-bound Canadian students to take Peace Tower flag along

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

OTTAWA - Canadian students traveling to the Netherlands for the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War will pack along a special Canadian flag, to be hoisted at all events in which they are scheduled to participate. The flag, that has flown atop parliament’s Peace Tower, will be presented to Dutch government officials at the conclusion of their trip so it cam be displayed in the Netherlands.

Veterans Affairs minister, the Hon. Jean-Pierre Blackburn told the students that they are the next generation who will learn-first hand-the story of Canadians who did extraordinary things in the cause of freedom. He challenged them to carry forward the story of the brave men and women who played a vital role in liberating the Netherlands. Those who fought there, many giving their lives, must be remembered, he said. Ambassador Wim Geerts, who represents the Netherlands in Canada, looked on as the minister presented the flag to he students.

St. Catharines, Ontario, Member of Parliament Rick Dykstra, the grandson of 1950s Dutch immigrants, said that "our soldiers fought and sacrificed so much out of a sense of responsibility to a greater cause." According to Dykstra, who is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, "these students will have the opportunity to honour all those who were willing to place themselves in harm's way in order to protect the vulnerable and stand up for the values Canadians hold dear."

Delegation of 2,400

Over 2,400 Canadian students, teachers and administrators from over 85 schools across Canada are part of a tour organized by EF Educational Tours Canada. The tour will travel to the Netherlands for events leading up to the commemoration of VE-Day on May 8, the date peace was restored in Europe after the Second World War. More than 7,600 Canadians died in the nine-month campaign to liberate the Netherlands.

"We are extremely proud to be carrying the Peace Tower flag with us, and having it as part of the students' activities to honour our soldiers as they represent our country in Europe," said Erik Church, President of EF Educational Tours. "Their experiences on this journey will shape their understanding of Canada's truly great place in the world and contribute to their growth as global citizens. It is going to be a great trip."

Those wanting more information on the Second World War and the liberation of the Netherlands, are invited to visit the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site at The website also has a virtual Wall of Honour which lists all those who fell in the service of their country, including some Dutch emigrants who enlisted with the Canadian armed forces.