A welcome sight after a long winter, the vibrant blooms of multicoloured tulips in our National Capital are a reminder of spring's renewal and a stirring tribute to the service of Canadian forces in the 1945 liberation of the Netherlands, ending Dutch oppression under the Nazi regime.
More than 7,600 Canadian troops died fighting in the Netherlands; their immense sacrifice continues to be recognized and honoured by the Dutch Royal Family and the people of Holland, each of whom send 10 000 bulbs annually to Ottawa as a tribute.
Not only did Canadian troops fight to liberate the Dutch people in their homeland, Ottawa also harboured the Dutch Royal Family in exile at Stornoway house from 1940 until the end of the war. During their exile, Princess Magriet was born on January 19, 1943 at the Ottawa Civic Hospital, temporarily declared extra-territorial in order to ensure the Dutch citizenship of the Princess.
Lieutenant-General (Ret'd) Cuppens, former President of the Last Post Fund from 2007-2010, recalls how his father, having been liberated by Canadian soldiers in Holland as a young man and later immigrating to Canada, demonstrated his lifelong gratitude to Canadian Veterans, participating in commemoration ceremonies at home and accompanying Veterans to ceremonies in the Netherlands.
"As D-Day approaches, we Canadians, living in the land of the free, can reflect with pride and respect on the many who gave so much to deliver freedom to Europe. I, among many, remain grateful." - LGen (Ret'd) L.W.F. Cuppens