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Canadian veterans return to ‘liberate’ Amsterdam once more
Entry via Berlage Bridge
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
AMSTERDAM - A convoy of over one hundred vintage army vehicles carrying Canadian war veterans rode into Amsterdam on May 7, just over sixty years after the memorable 1945 event. Because of security concerns on May 5, Liberation Day, the parade had been postponed for two days. Enthusiasm among the thousands of spectators and the veterans themselves nonetheless was high.
The convoy entered the city from the East over the Berlage Bridge across the Amstel river, following the same route into the city centre as the Liberators - Canadian and British soldiers - had taken sixty years earlier.
The veterans and their drivers were greeted with vigorous applause and yells of ‘Thank You Very Much,’ wherever they went. Many were handed flowers again and again or shook hands with young and old lining the streets. Often, the convoy came to a halt when spectators wanted to talk to the veterans to express their thanks.
The Amsterdam veterans’ parade ended on the Dam Square, in front of the Royal Palace, just as the Liberators did in 1945. Upon arrival, the participants were welcomed by Mayor Job Cohen, and his guest, Canadian Senator Art Eggleton, a former Mayor of Toronto who also has served as a Defense Minister. Cohen honoured the ‘Canadian friends for liberating us, our parents and our grandparents’. Eggleton expressed the sentiments of all the veterans when he said that they were overwhelmed by the generosity of the citizens of Amsterdam.