Dutch dead remembered 10 years after Tsunami

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"A wave that comes and goes and leaves everything else behind." These words are no the back of the monument that Karin Beenhakker and Luc Pijman have set up in Zand commemorating the 39 Dutch victims of the tsunami of 2004.  The monument is a 3 meter wave, carved in Belgian stone and standing in a large circle of shell sand. Around the monument are stones, each stone is different in shape and color. "This is the stone of Job and Maria", said Karin. "Twins, they were sitting on a stone in the sea when the tsunami snatched them out of life."

Karin, Luc and their four children survived the disaster, but it is on their minds every day. This week they commemorated the victims of the disaster in seclusion with other survivors and relatives. "We were on holiday in Sri Lanka", says Luc. "That morning we were going to take a tour. Karin was still up in the hotel with our youngest of four, I was downstairs waiting on the bus with our three other children. My oldest daughter pointed me towards the sea: 'hey dad, check the water goes up!' We could do only one thing, I said: run, run! Two of my children did, the wave came and dragged me and my daughter away."

"That all six of us survived, we still do not understand. We all thought the others were dead." says Karin. "After that life has never been the same. If I go to sleep I think: did I do what i wanted to do? Was it a good day? Is the day done, because who knows whether there will be a tomorrow. It is so precious life, so fragile. I'm not saying you have to live in fear, not at all, but with the preciousness of the day." There is a guestbook at the monument. Yesterday someone wrote: "Nice place you made. Tomorrow morning, 4 minutes before nine thirty, we were flushed out of our homes. We were lucky, but some of our neighbors weren't."

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