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Canadians pay tribute in Groesbeek to WWII casualties

During Four Day March

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

GROESBEEK - The 184 Canadian soldiers who participated in the recent, 88th Nijmegen Four Day March, paid tribute to the Canadians who died during the Liberation of the Netherlands in 1944 and 1945. On the third day of the March, more than 40,000 walkers passed through the town of Groesbeek, home of the Commonwealth War Cemetery.

Canadian military contingents have participated in the Nijmegen Marches since 1952. The 2004 contingent was representative of the Canadian Forces as a whole, comprising members of the Regular Force and the Reserves from across the country.

The March which originally was meant as a military excercise, has become the world’s largest walking event, attracting almost 45,000 participants this year, including hundreds of military teams. For them, ‘Nij-megen’ adds another challenge: they must complete the 160 kilometres while carrying a standard military rucksack weighing at least 10 kg.

The commemoration at Groesbeek is an annual event during the March. The Canadian contingent this year was commanded by Brigadier-General Raymond Romses, the Commander of Land Force Atlantic Area. More than 5,700 Canadians lost their lives in the Netherlands. The cemetery at Groesbeek contains the graves of 2,300 of them. The central monument at the cemetery is inscribed with the names of 103 Canadian soldiers and airmen who have no known grave. The legend reads Pro amicis mortui amicis vivimus (“We live in the hearts of friends for whom we died”).

Many other military units participating in the Nij-megen March also laid wreaths.