A difficult task made even more difficult by @Wordpress deciding to change things about, despite, from what I can gather, every @Wordpress user in Christendom not being happy about it. If it was a free service I wouldn’t say a word, but to have paid to be a .com and still not have a say does annoy me somewhat.
Anyhoooooo, onwards and upwards. My theme has been decided as “places I’ve been.” This could be a country, a city, a tourist attraction or even something as banal as an airport.
A is for Arnhem.
A small Dutch town, not known to many people outside of Holland or the worldwide community of Paratroopers. If it wasn’t for Operation Market Garden in 1944 Arnhem would still be a small Dutch town famous for nothing at all.
In September 1944, in an effort to “bring the boys home before Christmas” over 34,000 men jumped into occupied territory with the intention of capturing bridges, holding ground, disrupting the logistical chain and thus ending the war early.
The jump into Arnhem was notable for the heroism of the British and Polish troops, but also for the poor planning that took place, leading to 9000 men going into Arnhem, but less than 2000 coming out.
Even if you know nothing of warfare, by looking at the mortar tube, the simple equation of “what goes up must come down” indicates that the enemy weren’t far away at all
Today, Arnhem is a typical Dutch town with the same plus and minus points as everywhere else in the world, but once a year the town and the cemetery at Oosterbeek become a meeting place for those who fought there and those who followed in their footsteps.
I have been lucky enough to have visited this town several times and the thing that always strikes me is how welcoming the citizens of Arnhem still are. Long after the ugly spectre of war has left them, they still open their arms in thanks to the ever decreasing numbers of veterans who fought there and the thousands of younger men who go to pay their respects.
I find it incredible that when I’m there, the residents of this lovely city thank me, even though the battle took place almost 20 years before I was born. When I explain this to them, the reply is almost always, “yes, but if you had been born, you WOULD have come to save us.” It’s humbling in the extreme.
To the people of Arnhem, I thank you for your kindness, hospitality and the respects you and your children pay every year at the cemetery of my forefathers.
This is linked to The A to Z challenge blog: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/