Slottoespraak voorzitter Stichting Driel-Polen, dhr. A. Baltussen
Dear Veterans, Veteran widows, the Sosabowski family, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
We have come to the end of this ceremony in which we were able to show you the Military Order of William, which was awarded to the 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade by Her Majesty the Queen yesterday. We feel fortunate that the Bronze Lion, which was posthumously awarded to Major Stanislaw Sosabowski, could also be part of the ceremony.
As Chairman of the Driel-Poland Foundation, I would like to thank the Ministry of Defence for organising the ceremony in The Hague yesterday and for making it possible for all the veterans and widows to be able to come to the Netherlands and Driel in
such large numbers.
Much has been said in the press over the last few days about the history of the honour realisation for your Brigade and General Major Stanislaw Sosabowski posthumously. I would hereby like to extend a heartfelt thank you to research journalist Geertjan Lassche and the EO for the realisation of the documentary which was broadcasted on 14th September 2004.
This documentary showed the 1946 letter from Queen Wilhelmina containing the approval to award ten members of the Sosabowski Brigade with a royal bravery honour.
This letter and the interview with Prince Bernhard, during which he expressed the wish to still award these honours, have resulted in the government’s entire Lower Chamber passing a motion to research the matter further and award the honours posthumously.
The “Kapittel” received instructions to initiate an investigation in December 2004.
The decision made by the Dutch government, which was officially carried out yesterday, was announced on 9th December 2005.
In addition to Geertjan Lassche and the EO, on behalf of our foundation I would also like to extend very warm thanks to
all those who contributed to the documentary and everything which was subsequently added to it.
All this made it possible for us to be here together today to celebrate both bravery honours.
To conclude this ceremony, we will now all sing the song which Polish people sing to ask God for freedom, prosperity and protection:
Boze Cos Polske
I would kindly ask you all to stand up for this
Once the 6th Attack and Assault Brigade have marched off with the banner, we would like to invite you to join us for
lunch in the social cultural centre, the Nieuwenhof, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. The emphasis will be on the contact between the veterans, the veteran widows and their family members with the Driel inhabitants