May 5th, 1945, seventy five years ago, was a very special day in the Netherlands, as it marked the end of the occupation of that country by Nazi Germany. My Dutch family was living in the Netherlands at that time when Canadian soldiers and their allies liberated the country from five years of occupation and oppression by Nazi soldiers. My parents, two older sisters and my brother stood on the front steps of our home as they cheered the Canadian soldiers marching into our home town, Hoogeveen, in the Province Drenthe. My mother was holding me in her arms as I was a toddler and I do not remember this particular day since I was so young but my parents never let us forget the significance of that special day.
Even though it's 75 years ago, as May 5th approaches, I am reminded of the debt of gratitude owed to our Canadian soldiers and the Canadian government which also gave refuge to the Dutch Queen Juliana and her family for the duration of the War. My parents immigrated to Canada in 1952 and while our families live in Canada now, as my parents before me, I too relate to my children and grandchildren the history of May 5th and the gifts of the tulip bulbs as a symbolic remembrance of that day.