THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
This past Sunday, September 20, the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten hosted a musical concert to celebrate two anniversaries; 75 years since the liberation of the Netherlands during WWII, and 76 years since the liberation of South Limburg.
In the months following D-Day, on June 6, 1944, Allied troops began to liberate Western Europe. On September 12, 1944, the first American troops from the 30th Infantry Division set foot on Dutch soil, in the village of Mesch. In the following week, the region of South Limburg was liberated, with the city of Eindhoven reached by September 20. One notable event from that day, September 20, which is remembered each year is the Waalcrossing. Each year, a Sunset March takes place across the Waalsprong bridge in Nijmegen, to honor 48 American soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division who died during the Waalcrossing. Although this year's March was invitation only, the event took place as usual.
According to the US Embassy in the Netherlands, "American troops remained in South Limburg until August 1945, and as a result, the region became the most 'Americanized' part of the country." American troops who lost their lives in the Netherlands are honored at the Netherlands American Cemetery, which is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC).
Altough much of the south of the country was liberated in 1944, parts of the north remained under German occupation until the German full surrender in 1945. The Netherlands was fully liberated in May 1945, and May 5 now marks the country's liberation day.
Commemorating both anniversaries, the ABMC hosted a concert at the cemetery in Margraten on Sunday September 20, 2020. The concert was hosted by Secretary of the ABMC, Major General (Ret) Bill Matz, who flew in from Washington for the occasion. A socially distanced audience listened to peformances by the philharmonie zuidnederland, while other speakers at the concert included the US Ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, and the King's Commissioner for the Province of Limburg, Theo Bovens.
To see the full concert, go to www.abmc.gov. To learn more about American soldiers who fought to liberate the Netherlands, read more at the US Embassy in the Netherlands website, and for more details on the Sunset March over the Waalsprong bridge, go to www.sunsetmarch.nl.