After the successful 75th commemoration in 2019, it is with heavy heart the British Parachute Regiment has to do the 76th Airborne commemoration at the cemetery in Oosterbeek, The Netherlands this year without relatives, Arnhem Veterans and interested parties.
The British Parachute Regiment, as well as all organisations affiliated with the Airborne Commemorations Foundation, have advised the relatives and Arnhem veterans to stay at home.
The memorial service in memory of the Allied soldiers who fell during the Battle of Arnhem will this time due to COVID-19 only be attended by representatives such as the ambassadors of Poland, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the USA, the Commissioner of the King and Mayors of the Airborne Municipalities. The army is represented by the commanders of the Polish Airborne Brigade, the British Parachute Regiment and the Dutch 11th Airmobile Brigade.
The warm feelings of the thousands of interested people who normally attend the memorial service will be missed. This is also the case for the 800 school children who place their brought flowers on the graves during a normal memorial service. There is, however, an alternative for the school children.
Prior to the memorial weekend, all graves will be provided with a flower with a Poppy card with a personal greeting from a schoolchild on it, so that during the memorial service all graves are provided with a flower with a personal greeting from a schoolchild. The wreath-laying by the many associations and agencies is also lagging behind this year.
Visiting the graves
It is possible to visit the graves, also in the Airborne period 17 to 26 September, but not during the memorial service on 20 September as the cemetery is closed to everyone on Sunday morning. The cemetery as well as the area around the cemeteries like the parking lots are closed to visitors and the roads to the cemetery are not accessible.
All commemorations in the Airborne municipalities will be broadcast by Local station Omroep Gelderland. The Airborne memorial service will be broadcast live from the cemetery in Oosterbeek by TV Gelderland on 20 September 2020 at 10.00 am. The broadcast can also be followed via Omroep Gelderland’s live stream on Facebook, YouTube or the website.
The organisation The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Charity understands the disappointment this decision entails and asks for understanding so that the fallen can be remembered in a safe and above all dignified way this year.
For information and questions you can email the organisation The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Charity [email protected].