Speech Ambassador, Mr. J. Michałowski
Madam Mayor, Mister Commissioner, Sosabowski Family, Dear Veterans (Drodzy Weterani), Distinguished Guests,
It is a great honour to me to participate today in this very important celebration, especially together with the present veterans. Yesterday we witnessed a great event. Her Majesty Queen Beatrix decorated the 6th Air Assault Brigade, inheritor of the tradition of the brave 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, with the military Order of William, as well as post mortem the great Polish hero – General Stanisław Sosabowski with the Order of the Bronze Lion. In this way, after more than 60 years, The Netherlands eventually officially honoured the Polish Parachute Brigade, its commander General Sosabowski and the historical error has been redressed, as Her Majesty said yesterday.
Today’s celebration is one of the many symbols of the contribution of the Polish soldiers to the liberation of the Netherlands from the German occupation. It has been an important and elevated moment, not only for the Dutch nation, but also for the Polish soldiers, veterans, who had to fight for the independence of their fatherland on many fronts.
I would like to thank Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, the Dutch authorities, the citizens of Driel and Arnhem and the Dutch nation for cultivating the historical remembrance and for appreciating the contribution of the Polish soldiers to the liberation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Particularly I would like to thank those who contributed very intensively to the recognition of the brave General Sosabowski and the Polish soldiers in the Battle of Arnhem. There are many of them, but in this place I would like to mention the name of Mrs. Cora Balthussen, who dedicated most of her life to gain the acknowledgment for the bravery of General Sosabowski and his Brigade.
I will now read the letter from the Polish minister of Defense Mr. Radosław Sikorski addressed to the veterans.