Prepared by James Stoness with
the Bronze Plaque Tour in Brugge
Today, members and families of the SAR (South Alberta Armoured Regiment) visited several Belgian towns which they had liberated in 1944. Citizens turned out in great numbers to show the love and respect they hold for the Canadians. Large groups of young school children waved Canadian flags and cheered as the veterans dismounted from their bus and later presented each of them with red and white long-stemmed roses.
At Eeklo, Maldegem, and Zomergem, veterans unveiled SAR bronze plaques amidst moving ceremonies. There is no way to adequately describe the open-heartedness of the Belgian people who welcomed the veterans of the SAR with bands, the pealing of church bells, and a military fly-over.
The veterans placed a wreath at the Cross of Sacrifice in the Canadian War Cemetery at Adegem. This wreath joined 92 others placed there earlier by citizens on the second Sunday in September during an annual ceremony at which local Belgians meet to honour the fallen Canadians. To quote Major Danny McLeod, "These boys are not truly dead until they are forgotten, and the Belgian people have not allowed this to happen."
After viewing today's ceremonies there can be no doubt in anyone's mind that the Belgian people do remember. It is unfortunate that we do not see the same outpouring of remembrance from the Canadian people for surely the timely intervention of our troops saved the Canadian people from a similar fate had Hitler not been opposed.
The veterans were extremely fortunate to have military historian George Spittael with them pointing out where various actions had taken place.