The political Party D66 Renkum chooses every year the best citizen initiative in Renkum, The Netherlands. It is an award for the recognition of the effort volunteers take, to do something for somebody else.
The initiative who won the participation for The Best Citizen Initiative for 2018 went to the group who initiated to have a candle burning on every war grave on Cristmas Eve at the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek and it’s surroundings.
A little statue, flowers and a poem
From all the initiatives in 2018 the political party chooses 10 organisations and the people of the municipality of Renkum could vote on the initiative who they thought was most sympathetic. Because sympathetic they were all. The group did not see the nomination coming as they did not expect to win at all.
“Unbelievable,” one of them said, “we couldn’t believe the amount of donations done, the amount of hands that came to help to lit the candles and the fastness it all went, and we did not see this coming either!”
Just a few who helped burning the candles (and cleaning up afterwards) were present and after the price-giving they took the little statue to the cemetery and placed the flowers they also got, on the monument.
“We all, did it for them, so the flowers are theirs.” they said.
The village-poet Sander Essers was asked to write a poem for this initiative and he did, in Dutch but so touching we asked him for a translation:
a light of hope
a light of human to human
a light of ‘do not forget’
a light for reflection
almost 1800 graves here tell
about insane war
with refined and brute violence
taking lives and dignity
and about resistance against it
here exist almost 1800 reasons
for the same amount of lights
although we know you, fallen soldier
we reconfirm you
as fellow human
and give symbolical
some dignity back
doing so, we exorcise as well
the shame in ourselves
of the dark side of the human being
we hunt her back in the corner
in the cage, the institutes, we
created living together
the cage we sometimes curse
but cherish at vulnerable moments
lights give us hope
especially in dark times
with the lighting
we hold ourselves
and each other for a moment
making their passing worthy
their lives more important
so important, to us too
© Sander Essers