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Published: 12 October 2009 from Nargarkot, Nepal


When we arrived to downtown Nijmegen, another big parade was looming.  Folks who had joined my Twitter page and kept getting Tweets that the Dutch were treating our veterans like rock stars and Royalty can now see there was no exaggeration.  British soldiers from the Nijmegen Company of the famous Grenadier Guards marched in.  Today they were in Nijmegen, but by the time this is published these British soldiers will be arriving in Afghanistan.  God bless them.  Many of these soldiers will not come back alive.  The only thing assured is that they will fight well.

Grenadier Guards.

Though ceremonies were all over the news, this was a non-commercial remembrance.  In fact, I sensed that it was taboo in Holland to attempt to profit from this remembrance.  Nobody was around selling hotdogs and hawking t-shirts.  We were given shirts and hats and accommodations of all sorts.  Free food, free soft-drinks, beers, coffees, whatever.

The Grenadier Guards saluted Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands and Prince Philip from the United Kingdom.  Queen Elizabeth did not arrive.

Queen Beatrice must have been about the safest woman on the planet.  She was surrounded by British, Dutch, and American soldiers, gobs of whom are combat veterans and no strangers to drama, not to mention the old veterans who still have fight in them.

Prince Philip.

The people seemed very fond of Queen Beatrice.  Someone said she chatted thirty minutes with Maggie.

National Anthems were played.

Ralph, with that look on his face, was singing the National Anthem.

This Army soldier had parachuted in.

The Polish Ambassador and others placed wreaths.

The Canadian defense attaché placed a wreath.

As did several others.

Germans were welcomed and also remembered.

Again, the highlight was the kids who read poems.

And then another parade including driving safety violations too numerous to count.

The kids were having a time.

Veterans huddled like normal.

Of course there was another group photo.

Now do you believe that Dutch people treat our veterans like rock stars and Royalty?  Are you tired?  Is this dispatch too long?  But wait.  It’s not over yet.

Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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