THEIR EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE IS LIKE NOTHING YOU COULD IMAGINE...
It was powerful and overwhelming, and it was a trip that will be forever etched in my heart.
In May 2015, I was honored to travel to the Netherlands with my father, then a 90-year-old WWII Canadian veteran. We were invited there to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their liberation, and I experienced firsthand what it is like to be immersed in the kindness and gratitude of the Dutch. They value their freedom, and they feel it is their duty to thank the people who fought for it.
In 1945, my father was witness to the horrific impact war had on the people of the Netherlands. He was there at the end of the war and also experienced the jubilation of their freedom. During his subsequent trips back, and also in 2015, seeing survivors and their families and children celebrating in the streets, brought him much joy and brought me to tears.
It also made me realize I needed to create a body of work inspired by those emotions.
The piece above is comprised of photographs I took on that trip in 2015. It is intended to recognize the continuation of generations and pay tribute to those children who did not survive the war. My father was keen to shake the hand of this young girl in the crowd at a parade in the city of Apeldoorn. The cherubic image at the top left (a photo of a bronze sculpture also taken while there) represents those children who lost their lives and are viewing the exchange between soldier and survivor's family.
The things we experience in life have so much meaning. When we take the time to preserve those moments, especially the moments that land in our soul, they can be enjoyed generation after generation.
Preserve what matters most.
Dad is in this documentary video which aired last year,
created by Omrop Fryslan TV in the Netherlands:
(if you wish, skip to 18:20, 24:15, 26:15)
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