He has not forgotten

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 19, 2003

If you’ve been to Holland, you realize it is a small flat country, below sea level, kept safe from the ocean by a series of dikes. Windmills are rare and wooden shoes even more so. There is a young man living there with a very Dutch name, Andre Rieu, who became a famous violinist. It is possible you have never heard of him but he has soloed with many symphony orchestras.

One of his best works is called &uot;Lost Heroes&uot; which he composed with his brother, Jean Philippe, and introduced on Memorial Day 2002, the day that Holland commemorates their liberation by Americans in 1945. Near to their hometown, Maastricht. there is an enormous war cemetery &uot;Margraten&uot; where more than 8,000 fallen American soldiers are buried. Every year in May they hold an impressive memorial service there. The words:

Ocean bird I wish to tell you a story from long ago

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Oh ocean bird I wish to tell you that sad old song you must know.

America, so many heroes, they left their homes and crossed the waves,

America, you sent your young boys. Oh ocean bird how must I tell you that sad old song?

They came to save us! America, so many heroes, they lost their lives and filled the graves.

America, we have your heroes. America, we are your friends. America, we will always love you and keep you in our heart and hands.

America, so many heroes, they left their homes and crossed the waves.

America you cry with grief now. Oh ocean bird, how must I tell you that sad new song, they are in pain now. America we share your sorrow. America, let hope remain.

Andre Rieu wrote. &uot;I was born a few years after the war and was brought up with the image of Americans as heroes who liberated us. My parents always spoke with deep respect and gratitude about Americans, and I took up that attitude. The feelings that we have since 11th September can be expressed by these words on ‘&uot;Lost Heroes.&uot;

I am grateful for men like Andre Rieu and find his attitude to be rare in another European country whose citizens appear to have forgotten we passed through on the way to liberating it from tyranny. We left behind many thousands of young men under white crosses on their place called Normandy and I wonder if those men and boys would prefer to come home to our shores. If this &uot;French&uot; sentiment persists I would volunteer my services to bring them back to where they would not be shuffled into the past.

One must ask if that country’s attitude would be different if one of their Concords had been flown into the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps, but at all times we must remember that Europe is not the force it once was and there has always been a simmering resentment to the USA, too loud, too rich, to full of ourselves, and so much happier than Europeans. But now it has become an epidemic. The great powers have dwindled down to a precious few and we are it. The only hope for glory for European countries is to unite and become the country of Europe. Our friends in England want no part of it and are wise to remain aloof and independent. Envious nations have only a semblance of power through the near defunct United Nations but have shown they will use it to stop us in our tracks.

Most will admit that body of diplomats is toothless, ineffective and on the way out. Our nation can hurry the process by recognizing that the divided nations no longer exist. Many suggest we turn the building into another shopping center and let stuffed shirts meet elsewhere.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular columnist for the News-Herald.