Arnhem apologizes for refusing veterans at WWII commemoration

WWII military cemetery in Oosterbeek for soldiers who died in the Battle for Arnhem
WWII military cemetery in Oosterbeek for soldiers who died in the Battle for Arnhem. (Photo: cakifoto/DepositPhotos)

Five veterans of the Second World War were refused entry to the Airborne memorial in Arnhem on Friday night. Arnhem mayor Ahmed Marcouch called their refusal "extremely painful". On Sunday he offered them apologies and a gift. "Unfortunately, this went wrong. We should do better next time", the mayor said, RTL Nieuws reports.

The veterans were refused entry to the Arnhem memorial because they did not have the correct admission ticket. "We have been coming since the early 1980s and have never needed a pass. We thought our medals served as entry tickets", 95-year-old Leslie Reeves, a British Market Garden Veteran, said to Omroep Gelderland afterwards.

According to Omroep Gelderland, Reeves fought in Nijmegen and Arnhem during the Second World War. When he crossed the Rijn river, he was seriously injured. He was the only person of his unit to survive. 

On Sunday, mayor Marcouch waited for the five veterans at the memorial service for the victims of the Battle of Arnhem in Oosterbeek. He apologized for what happened on Friday night, and offered them a gift.

The five veterans accepted the apologies and will come back for the next commemoration in Arnhem, they said according to RTL Nieuws. 

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