Oosterbeek, The Netherlands – The White Ribbon Mile has quickly become a household name and a justifiable conclusion to the Airborne Commemorations. That is what mayor Agnes Schaap said in her speech on the banks of the Rhine last Saturday.
This is where the Allies gathered for Operation Berlin 77 years ago. The withdrawal of the Airborne troops across the Rhine. The end of Operation Market Garden and although not everyone made it to the other side, and with it safety, this meant the end of the attempt to capture and hold the Rhine Bridge in Arnhem for the advancing Allies from the south of the Netherlands. Retreat was the only option, the only way was across the Rhine.
In order to find the way to the place where the monument still commemorates the grueling crossing, white ribbons were stretched along which the Allies could find their way in the terrible bad weather on the night from 25 to 26 September 1944. The monument is normally inaccessible, but from the beginning of September the route from the Old Church to the crossing at the Rhine will be plotted. Everyone can then walk the same route along white ribbons.
After the literal clock strike of the Old Church at 21:00, chairman Fedde Makkinga welcomed everyone. A short video was shown and after that, the group silently left for the Rhine bank via the stretched white ribbon. At the monument, even before Mayor Schaap said so, it immediately became clear that there had been many visitors the past days.
There were already a lot of flowers, crosses and poppies. A Canadian flag was stuck in the small bridge that stands on the monument. After all, it were the Canadians who came to fetch the Allies in small boats.
After the mayor’s speech, she and children’s mayor Aline Huijgen laid the first flowers of that evening. The four aldermen of Renkum laid flowers together, after which many more followed.
The monument at daylight