Tom Schaffer (93) and John Pinkerton (77) both British veterans were denied Friday by the Airborne memorial in Arnhem, The Netherlands; they had no pass.
And they were not the only ones.
Tom fought during the Second World War and John served in The Middle East in the sixties
Apparently nowadays you need a pass to be at the memorial in the Bear Pit. Even if you’re a veteran, only whose struggle and comrades we commemorate. The note that a pass was needed didn’t reach the veterans.
Jan Verlinden, who hosts the two gentleman’s this week, is furious: “They were simply denied. We couldn’t believe our ears. These are two veterans, huh? The security said it was because of safety reasons. ” Verlinden says to Omroep Gelderland.
It bothers Verlinden immensely that so many dignitaries were present to attend the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden. Among them were members of parliament, ministers and members of the Royal Family. They could see everything from an excellent place while the veterans were stopped. An inverted world, Verlinden says.
“Apparently only people allowed through ticket. This is purely because there are so many important people present. But it is the veterans that you should carry on hands. Who are the real VIPs here now? ” Verlinden wonders.
The two veterans were perplexed. Besides these two gentlemen, several others veterans could not enter. Some were in wheelchairs and were not allowed past the gates. Some of them in tears….
Tom and John were lucky. A Dutch couple who saw how they were denied give them their passes. They were at name but security turned a blind eye…