--British soldier from Arnhem Battle
Our River cruise boat stopped at Arnhem on the Rhine River. We were told that we had docked almost near a famous bridge which had great meaning in World War II. Cornelius Ryan would tell the battle story in his best selling book called, A Bridge Too Far. A film was made from the book by Richard Attenborough.
On this Memorial Day my memory goes back to that Bridge. In 1944 the Germans had moved into Holland and all the citizens of Arnhem had been evacuated. General Bernard Montgomery of England believed if the Allied forces could take this bridge and two others at Arnhem they could end the war.
The Battle plan was called Operation Market Garden. The largest Airborne operation in history happened there. 35,000 paratroopers were dropped in 3 separate areas. If they could take this bridge, defeat the Germans they could then move into the Netherlands. It would be the end of the war.
I had heard little of this battle. But I visited the Cemetery where so many of these troops were buried. And I was reminded that on this special day we should pause to remember all those who fallen in all the wars.
The Bridge at Arnhem was destroyed in that battle despite the defeat of the Allied troops. Yet when I saw the bridge I was amazed at how it has been rebuilt. Four months after that battle the war really did end and the troops from so many countries found their way home.
But on this Memorial weekend let us remember all the fallen. Let us pray that wars can end and peace might just come. Not all battles are won. Many have been lost. But flowers grow in Arnhem after these terrible years.
We must take the long view of history. That is hard in a crazed media age where every headline is a crisis. And yet when we look a long way back—we might just know that even after enormous losses and defeat and pain—the flowers still grow. Let us remember the fallen.
Roger Lovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com