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Sponsor group ‘Thank You Canada and Allied Forces’ disbands
Annual reunions end
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
HELLENDOORN – Each time, they literally hosted a small army but ‘their’ soldiers hardly can travel any longer. The average age of the Canadian WWII veterans who attended the 2005 Liberation celebrations in the Netherlands was 82, the oldest one among the over 1,700 former soldiers was 94. The age creep makes it unlikely that enough veterans will be well enough to travel, hence the decision of the Foundation ‘Thank You Canada and Allied Forces’ to disband.
For decades, the foundation was responsible for bringing Canadian veterans back to the Netherlands to attend Liberation ceremonies and remembrances. Most of the Canadians who attended the final Liberation Day, were accompanied by family or friends, often elderly themselves. A fair number of veterans only decided to participate at the last moment, perhaps because they waited to see if they were well enough to travel.
To care for the elderly veterans and to meet their health challenges, organizers had posted medical staff and ambulances along the parade route and at many other events for the veterans. Participants had been advised as well to consult their family physician before making travel plans.
Although some Canadian veterans and others may wish the annual Liberation celebrations in the Netherlands to continue, organizers decided to pull the plug. The decision to fold already had been conveyed to the Canadian government, which as part of its current Year of the Veteran-commitment ‘pulled out all stops’ to assist, including issuing travel grants and outright financial assistance.