June 5, 2019 (Google Translation) – 75 years ago, the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany began in Portsmouth. The allied invasion fleet departed from this British port city on 5 June to dump itself on the French coast a day later (D-Day). Today, more than 300 D-Day veterans and many heads of government commemorated this historic moment. Among them Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Commander of the Armed Forces Lieutenant Admiral Rob Bauer.
Rutte and Bauer were accompanied by veterans André Hissink and Camiel Stritzko and Ridder Militaire Willems-Order lieutenant-colonel Gijs Tuinman. They saw, among other things, ‘1 of the greatest British military spectacles in recent history’, as announced by the British authorities. Among other things, 11 British naval vessels and 25 Royal Air Force aircraft participated. Also present were the 3 Dutch naval ships Zr. Ms Snellius, Sr. Ms Makkum and Sr. Ms Urk. These ships will sail a bit towards Normandy tomorrow.
Impressive testimonials were read and played on the stage in Portsmouth. All this accompanied by an impressive orchestra and film footage.
For example, a raging General Dwight Eisenhouwer was re-enacted who felt a landing was too risky because of the storm. Eventually he was persuaded and addressed the departing soldiers with the historical words: “Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the allied expedition: you are about to embark on the Great Crusade, which we have pursued for many months. The eyes of the world are on you. The hopes and prayers of freedom-loving people worldwide are marching with you. ”
One of those soldiers, sailors and airmen was 99-year-old John Jenkins, who appeared on stage under supervision. “I was terrified. You never forget your mates, because we were in it together. Many have sacrificed themselves and we have been honoring them for 75 years. We can never forget it. ”
The presence of German President Angela Merkel was mentioned as a symbol of how enemies can unite in a quest for peace. The British Queen Elizabeth spoke about the persistent generation of the war, her generation. According to her, it was the persistent courage, a “revival of spirit,” which brought the hundreds of thousands of soldiers to battle and brought them the victory.
Tomorrow, large commemorations will be held on and around the French landing beaches. Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten is present at the Dutch commemoration in Arromanches, where the Princess Irene Brigade landed in August 1944. She is also at the international commemoration on Juno Beach.