I walked around in silence between 11:00 until 11:11 in the morning, then it felt appropriate to sing O'Canada. I sang in a few different places around the cemetery for those that rest here. I was inspired to participate in an act of remembrance, as I am each time I visit one of these cemeteries on Canadian soil in the Netherlands. Being present, wearing a poppy and singing our national anthem is my gift of thanks.
People of all ages started lining up a kilometer away. I stood by myself in line amongst thousands, and was surprised at how quiet it was. Living in the Netherlands this was one moment, in a year's time, where there was almost complete silence in a crowded public place. I could tell that this ceremony is taken very seriously by those in attendance. I felt honoured to witness the commemoration.
When I first found this place it was entirely an accident, but I had read that there were still some Second World War bunkers along the Dutch coastline. After the war, most of what was known as the "Atlantik Wall" was reclaimed by the sea, dismantled or destroyed for obvious reasons; dark and terrific reminders of the Nazi occupation in Europe.
It was November 11th, Remembrance Day, a day where Canadians pause for a moment of silence at 11 a.m. for those men and women who died in the name of Canada. We paused in silence for more than that moment at eleven o'clock that morning. It was a poignant moment, both sad and beautiful, that left us speechless.