Toespraak burgemeester, mevr. E. Tuijnman
Dear veterans, ladies and gentlemen,
This year I would like to start off with a few lines from the poem entitled “Some people” by the Polish poet and Nobel Prize winner Wislawa Szymborska.
“Some people flee some other people
In some country under a sun and some clouds.
They abandon something close to all they’ve got,
sown fields, some chickens, dogs, mirrors in which fire now preens.
Their shoulders bear pitchers and bundles.
The emptier they get, the heavier they grow.”
And it continues:
“Always another wrong road ahead of them,
Always another wrong bridge
Across an oddly reddish river.
Around them, some gunshots, now nearer, now farther away,
Above them a plane seems to circle.”
Always another wrong road ahead of them,
Always another wrong bridge ………….
What would those young men from the 1st Independent Polish Parachutist Brigade have thought when they tried to turn the tides and fight off the enemy in those September days of 1944.
What would General Sosabowski have thought, giving his men the courage they needed so badly.
Now, 64 years later, as we are commemorating all those who died to give us back our freedom here in Driel, which is so closely connected with their Poles, our Poles and all those others, I was struck by that one line – “always another wrong bridge”.
Back then it was the wrong bridge, a bridge too far.
But we wouldn’t be doing all those soldiers justice if we didn’t try to relate the message regarding that bridge to the new generations.
The fact that this is still so utterly necessary is painfully evident from all the images of war we are presented with almost on a daily basis. This is why I am overjoyed that the young people from our country and young people from our partner communities are now once again involved with peace, freedom and democracy, which is an important part of the Airborne commemorations.
They are the ones who will soon be responsible for the realisation that every human being, no matter where in the world, is entitled to freedom and democracy. As well as the right to safety and food. The right to education.
Always another wrong bridge, a bridge too far. But still, a bridge to the future ….
No matter how difficult this is, we have an obligation to continue to work on this. To make sure our children and grandchildren across the entire globe can have what every human child is entitled to.
With the message that the efforts of many, often young, men back in September 1944 weren’t in vain.
Out of gratitude and a realisation that they fought for our freedom.