Battle of Arnhem commemorated 77 years later by paratroopers
The air landings during the Battle of Arnhem were commemorated 77 years later on Saturday on the Ginkelse Heide close to Ede by paratroopers who jumped out of largely historic planes. The jumps were easy to see due to the clear and sunny weather.
The air landings were part of the Allied liberation operation Market Garden in 1944. Many paratroopers and air forces stocked with equipment landed with the intention of capturing the Rhine Bridge from Arnhem from the German occupiers. The operation was not successful which meant the occupation of a large part of the Netherlands lasted until May 1945.
Usually, tens of thousands of people, attend the memorial service, yet this year it was not possible due to coronavirus measures. Last year, the public was not allowed to watch the ceremony at all. This year up to 15 thousand visitors were welcomed in the area. The audience had to pre-order their tickets and the ceremony was only accessible by bike or foot to prevent traffic.
The 11 Airmobile Brigade, specializing in rapid air deployments, organized the airborne landings.
Mayor of Ede, René Verhulst said it is very important that the battle is still commemorated, 77 years later. “We must preserve these stories. Let us use them to fight oppression and injustice,” Verhulst said.
The veterans, who usually are guests to the memorial, as far as their health permits, were not present this year due to the pandemic. These brave and inspiring people will be sorely missed at the commemoration, the speakers said.
Reporting by ANP