June 30, 2013: Waltzing soldiers on and around the Vrijthof in Maastricht. This is not a common sight. Uniforms are a rare phenomenon in the South Limburg town. Yesterday evening, however, hundreds of soldiers received tremendous applause under the watchful eye of André Rieu. He had invited 3,500 veterans, with a partner or companion, to attend his concert on Veterans Day.
Warm Heart: Both older as well as younger members of the forces, amongst them the Commander of the Land Forces, Lieutenant General Mart de Kruif, enjoyed the festivities. They were not tucked away in the far corners of the Vrijthof, but occupied prominent seats in the center of the square. Rieu treated the Dutch veterans generously and they participated in some song and dance.
Great Respect: "Veterans have as long as I can remember, played a role in my life," said Rieu via large screens in the city center. "As a postwar child I heard stories from my parents about the war, but even more about the liberation." That also applied to his wife Marjorie, whose Jewish father, grandfather and other relatives had to go underground. Her mother worked in the resistance movement. From her earliest childhood years, Marjorie experienced the gratitude that her parents harbored towards the liberators. According to Rieu the veterans have always had a special place in the family and in both families were always spoken about with great respect. In the Rieu family the annual commemorative days were consciously honored.
Giving Something Back: And now, on Veteran’s Day, Rieu gave soldiers, who have worked for peace and security all over the world, some extra attention in front of a huge public. This was achieved not only through a parade, but also by playing music for them. "I am very glad that this year at the Vrijthof I have the opportunity to do something for all those people who have put their lives at risk in order to guarantee others’ freedom," said the violinist.
Call From Pierre: The idea of inviting the veterans to the concert started with a phone call to the Land Forces (or army) at the beginning of June. During a telephone conversation, Pierre Rieu disclosed that his father had made tickets available to 3,500 veterans with a partner or companion. The Army, along with Rieu, transformed the idea into a plan and established contacts. Within just three weeks everything had been arranged. Former, as well as serving, soldiers were eligible and could contact the Veterans Institute to obtain tickets. That solicited a huge response. According to the Communications Officer of the Veterans Institute, Charlene Cloo, all the tickets had already been appropriated ten days ago. “Unfortunately we then had to disappoint a lot of people."
Excellent Places: Those who managed to obtain tickets did not regret the trip to Maastricht. According to Cloo: "This was really a very nice gesture from Andre Rieu towards our veterans." She realizes that Rieu’s organization worked very hard to ensure the best possible evening for the veterans. "It was not only excellent places that were provided free of charge; there was also a box with goodies for every veteran and ponchos just in case ...".Charlene Cloo can only hope that this good example will be followed. "We, as the Institute for Veterans, will support similar initiatives with pleasure."
This was an Article from last week that Entia Translated for us and I didn't get a chance to post it. A nice article ~ Thank You Entia!