Monday, March 10, 2014

Dutch Liberation Day and Il Silenzio

I received this in an email.  It is worth watching...The Dutch suffered so grievously in the war and remember all of the nations that help liberate them from the Nazis.  We visited the Netherlands when we were stationed in West Germany in the late 70s.  They were a very friendly and cheerful group of people who spoke excellent English!  We asked one man why the Dutch spoke English so perfectly; his reply was that they had to, no one else spoke Dutch!

About six miles from Maastricht, in the Netherlands, lie buried 8,301 American soldiers who died in "Operation Market Garden" in the battles to liberate Holland in the fall and winter of 1944-5.  Every one of the men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemeteries, has been adopted by a Dutch family who mind the grave, decorate it, and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted.  It is even the custom to keep a portrait of "their" American soldier in a place of honour in their home.    Annually, on "Liberation Day," memorial services are held for "the men who died to liberate Holland." The day concludes with a concert.  The final piece is always "Il Silenzio," a memorial piece commissioned by the Dutch and first played in 1965 on the 20th anniversary of Holland's liberation. It has been the concluding piece of the memorial concert ever since.
This year (2008) the soloist was a 13-year-old Dutch girl, Melissa Venema, backed by Andr√© Rieu and his orchestra (the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands). This beautiful concert piece is based upon the original version of taps and was composed by Italian composer Nino Rossi.  (Actually the piece is based on an Italian cavalry call very similar to 'Taps'.  Either way it is very beautiful).

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