Unveiling of the restored stained glass window
General Grodzki Commander 6th Airborne Brigade
18 September 2020
Dear Chairman, Dear Major, Dear Guests,
I feel deeply grateful for having the honour to deliver a speech during today’s festivities. The September visit in Driel is a special event for the paratroopers of the 6th Airborne Brigade. It is a fixed item of our annual agenda and nothing – even the global pandemic – is able to stop us from commemorating our fallen soldiers.
The friendship between the inhabitants of Driel and Arnhem area and Polish paratroopers, formed in blood and fire in 1944, has been long-standing and our common task is to sustain and nurture it.
I am delighted to be here for the first time as the Brigade Commander and pay tribute to the fallen colleagues. Thank you very much for your usual warm welcome. Thanks to it we always feel here as if we were at home. I would also like to express my gratitude for your remembrance, which always reminds us, here in Driel, of our strong bonds.
Today the magnificent statue of our patron General Sosabowski has been unveiled. On the General’s chest the Dutch Bronze Lion medal is proudly presented. He is our mutual hero who we are all grateful to.
Here in Driel’s church and Information Centre we are unveiling the stained glass window which shows the symbol of Polish paratroopers. This special masterpiece which is the remembrance of our mutual history, has been renovated due to the efforts of RKSV Driel Football Club. The stained glass window finds its perfect place where it can be admired by the future generations. I would like to thank the club for funding the renovation. Last year we celebrated together the 75th anniversary of Market Garden operation and this year you are celebrating the 75th year of your existence. We were supposed to organise a football match between the club and our Brigade to honour this anniversary. Unfortunately it was not possible this year due to the pandemic but I strongly believe that it will be held next year. The motto of our Brigade is Audaces Fortuna luvat- Fortune Loves the Brave Ones; that is why we look forward to our planned match with optimism and enthusiasm. Recently the Dutch Football Team beat Poland one to zero in the Football League of Nations, so we will try to meet the challenge.
Finally, I cordially thank the Driel-Polen Foundation and its chairman Arno Baltussen. I greatly appreciate the cooperation between our nations. You have been sustaining the friendship which was started in harsh war conditions by Cora Baltussen and thanks to you, the memory of General Sosabowski and his soldiers is still alive. We are really grateful to you for that and we are happy to call you our Friends.
Thank you very much.