Canada's priceless gift...
And, we are giving the same gift to the people in Afghanistan...
Canadian veterans and dignitaries attended a solemn ceremony of remembrance on Thursday to honour the lives lost during the Second World War that ended 65 years ago.
The sun was shining brightly upon those gathered at Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery near the border of the Netherlands and Belgium, where 968 Canadian soldiers are buried. Most of the fallen who lie here lost their lives while fighting to liberate the Netherlands.
Small Canadian flags are planted in the dirt in front of many of the graves.
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper were joined on stage at the hour-long ceremony by youth and veterans from both of their countries.
Mr. Harper drew a connection between the generations of the past and those of the future in his speech.
"When the living come to salute the dead, our words speak loudest to those whose lives still lay before them," Mr. Harper said.
Such remembrance ceremonies as the one held Thursday teach today's youth about their country's history and how they should live in the future, the prime minister noted.
"In such a place as this, you may understand how our land, Canada, gives birth to greatness," said Mr. Harper. "Would you wish to know what heroism is? Look here. Do you want to know what it means to be a citizen? Look here. Would you, a lifetime awaiting you, know how you should live? Then look here, and look all about you. Where only heroes rest."
Mr. Harper thanked the veterans and their fallen comrades for their sacrifices. He said Canadian soldiers 65 years ago and Canadian soldiers today share a common goal.
"This army of Canadians fought then for the only thing our country fights to this day: That which is right," he said.
The Dutch prime minister also spoke of the importance of passing on the stories of war, and of the peace that followed, to youth.
"The priceless gift" of freedom must be cherished and given to others, Mr. Balkenende said.
He also thanked the veterans for bringing freedom to his country.
"Our liberators, our heroes. Forever," he said.
Following the speeches two young Canadians and a Dutch youth read the Commitment to Remember in English, French and Dutch. Then Last Post was played followed by a minute of silence. Wreaths were laid by Mr. Harper, Mr. Balkenende and others at the base of a large stone cross.
Thursday's ceremony was one of many held throughout the Netherlands this week to mark the 65th anniversary of its liberation from Nazi rule. More than 7,600 Canadians lost their lives in battles to free the Dutch people.