Market Garden

A Remembrance During Time of War

Published: 12 October 2009 from Nargarkot, Nepal


Kandahar City, Afghanistan

Slowly, surely, the city is being strangled.  Signaling the depth of our commitment, security forces are thinner in Kandahar than the Himalayan air.  During the days and evenings, there were the sounds of occasional bombs—some caused by suicide attackers, and others by firefights.  The windows in my room had been blown out recently and now were replaced.  We came here to kill our enemies, but today we want to make a country from scratch.

A world away from Afghanistan, over in Holland, was approaching the 65th anniversary of the allied liberation from Nazi occupation, and I had been invited to attend by James “Maggie” Megellas.  Maggie, who had fought his way through Holland and is today remembered there as a hero, is said to be the most decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division.  Now 92, Maggie has recently spent about two months tooling around the battlefields of Afghanistan, and though it would be an honor to finally meet him, there was the matter of extracting myself from Kandahar City and getting through about forty minutes of dangerous territory to the military base at Kandahar Airfield.


And so a friend and I donned local garb and loaded into the car.

Criminals and Taliban were on the lookout for westerners to kidnap, and unknown to us an intelligence report had just been issued that men in a stolen Toyota Corolla were on the prowl in Kandahar City.

The camera was mostly kept down but occasionally I lifted for quick shots.  Kandahar City, like other main Afghan cities, belies the fact that most Afghans will never have one minute of electricity, nor will they ever see a westerner.

Afghan police love to jet around at high speeds in their trucks, often with powerful machine guns mounted on back.

Shortly after this photo was taken, my friend, who had been a South African cop for 16 years, spotted two men in a white Toyota Corolla who had locked onto us.  They drove swiftly by for a look-see, then hit a Y intersection ahead on the right.  They tried to get back in, but traffic slowed them by about ten seconds.  I was watching over my shoulder when they dangerously bolted back into the traffic a couple hundred meters behind us.  The camera was on the floorboard.  I had picked up a pistol and rested it on my right thigh.  My friend rolled down his window and I rolled down mine.  They were moving in.  In less than a minute, someone probably would die.  The car was speeding closer when per chance a green Afghan police pickup rocketed by the pursuers.  The green police truck was mounted with a machine gun, and a long belt of ammo was dangling, while a policeman kept his hands on the gun.  I hid the pistol.  The pursuers slowed.  We continued at about 40mph as the police swooshed by.  The police pulled off the road a few hundred meters ahead of us and the white car fell back more, until it passed the police and began to speed up, but that was it.  The pursuers were caught behind too many trucks and fell away.  I put down the pistol and picked up the camera.

None of the paved roads in Afghanistan were built by Afghan vision with Afghan resources.  If not for the many foreign invaders, this land would be road-and runway-free.

An American convoy of MRAPs approached from the front and a soldier in the lead vehicle shot a pen-flare, causing everyone to pull off the road.  The convoys are more menacing from the outside and in fact I kept the camera down and this is exactly why Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is concerned about adding too many troops.  Can’t argue with his reasoning; convoys and troops truly are menacing despite that U.S. and British soldiers are very disciplined.  It must look far worse to Afghans.  Most Afghans never talk with foreign soldiers and those who do normally only see us in passing.  In fact, most soldiers never leave base.  Our forces at KAF (Kandahar Airfield) have a base so large that this commercial jet is about to land there after flying dangerously over this unsecured road.

After arriving at Kandahar Airfield, the Dutch Air Force took me, and long after midnight we boarded a Canadian C-130 and flew to Dubai.

From Dubai, the Dutch soldiers got onto a chartered flight to Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Over the Arabian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, skirting Iraq.

Finally into Holland, we landed at the Dutch Air Force Base at Eindhoven, where families and others were waiting for Dutch soldiers.  Someone shoved a rose and a gift into my hand and I smiled, protesting that I am only a writer, and tried unsuccessfully to return the rose and the gift.

There was a short taxi ride to the hotel.

And right there in the lobby was a throng of World War II veterans whose first trips to Europe had been either under parachute into combat, or by gliders into combat.  (As would be revealed over the next five days.)  So I sat down with Guadelupe Flores because he was sitting alone while people crowded around other vets.  His grandson Matt came over.  I hadn’t even fully checked in yet.  Guadelupe said he was from Texas originally but now lived in Ohio, and he’d just arrived.  “Did you parachute in this time?” I asked.  Guadelupe only chuckled, “Not this time,” and chuckled some more.  Please have a look at Guadelupe’s left eye.  This is the last picture before he got the black eye, which is a funny story.  (Guadelupe was on the Army boxing team, he would later say.)

Maggie Megellas was there along with a large group of American university students who had broken off with small groups of veterans.  A man said that General Petraeus’ staff was here and General Petraeus was coming to stay at the same hotel.

Finally I got to the room and there was an email from Afghanistan:

I've heard we had to be on the lookout for a group of kidnappers, targeting expats in Kandahar. Apparently they are using a stolen white Toyota Corolla station wagon and a red Toyota Surf. Wonder if we “met” them yesterday?

Actually there had been two suspected vehicles that seemed like they might be working together, but I didn’t mention the second vehicle.  Every day in the war is a close call.

The Market Garden remembrance was to begin in the morning.


# Mark 2009-10-12 06:48
Michael - Thanks for the superb piece - it seemed like I was there.
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# Scott from TX 2009-10-12 06:57
i always get sucked in to the photos and story that you put together. nothing like the adrenaline rush of being a westerner driving through Kandahar with a Corolla on the loose.
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-1 # Johnathan Crawford 2009-10-12 07:09
Thanks Michael,

What a pleasant surprise this essay was. Your pictures are worth 1,000 words!
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# JC 2009-10-12 07:09
Great report, not too far from the bridge this time then. I am following you on twitter too. We need people like you reporting from the heart of things, even if maybe you get too close but that compensate from those who do it from the terrace of the Hilton and you know what I mean.
Take care.
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# Austen 2009-10-12 07:29
Brilliant - keep up the excellent work.
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# Salgofnir 2009-10-12 07:35
Another good report. Stay safe.
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# Joseph Bays ICCSSS, USN, Ret. 2009-10-12 07:53
A great picture story. I never knew the Dutch remembered, although some of Europe seems to have forgotten.
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# Nathaniel 2009-10-12 07:59
great pics as always!!
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# Eddy 2009-10-12 08:03
Thanks Michael, this was a great dispatch, and in no way too long. I appreciate you taking the time to detail all the cereomonies and events, it's hard to imagine us here in the United States putting up so much effort to honor our vets, much less those of another country. A grim reminder of how much we take for granted. And please stay safe in Afghanistan, the start of your dispatch scared the crap out of me, I don't know how I'd get my frontline news without you.
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# Robin 2009-10-12 08:10
Whoa! It's really almost creepy, you were all over the place. In fact, you went to the place where I live and even the school I go to. Crazy!

As always, you take pretty awesome photos.
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# Pat 2009-10-12 08:11
Thank you sir for what you are doing. Bringing to our homes what really happens out there and giving us the chance to see pictures and realize there are many out there who do appreciate our military and what America has done and continues to do in spreading freedom. Seeing the pictures of all the vets reminds me of my neighbor who was in the Air Force in both WWII and Korea. I always enjoy having conversations with him. I can only imagine how you felt being surrounded by all those incredible veterans and hearing their stories. It was also great that you got some pics of soldiers who were able to make it to the ceremonies as well. Keep up the great work sir!
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# Allen 2009-10-12 08:13
Michael -

Great, great, great dispatch. You're work is so refreshing. I get emotional just reading and remembering these vets.

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# JJT 2009-10-12 08:19
Thank you for an excellent piece.
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# Kevin 2009-10-12 08:32
Outstanding work as usual, Michael!
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# Vincent 2009-10-12 08:36
I have been "with you" since day one. I don't know what drives you but you are one brave, necessary reporter. Simply calling you a reporter seems so inadequate in the face of a monumental failure of war news dissemination by almost all News agencies. Stay well, Michael. We need you!
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# Matthew 2009-10-12 08:37
Thank you Michael! You always seem to make it to the most interesting places! I must make it to a Market-Garden event one day, before all of our old warriors are gone.
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# winston 2009-10-12 08:40
Excellent reporting. Beautiful photos... Good job!
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# CJ 2009-10-12 08:45
We can never forget, then as now, the incredible sacrifices of our armed men and women.

God Bless them all, and thank you Michael for taking us along for the ride.
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# Kiwi Chris 2009-10-12 08:56
Thank you for this fantastic article - we never had coverage of this national tribute down here - What a fantastic honour for these fantastic soldiers.
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# Lance McMillan 2009-10-12 09:17
Nice bit of reporting. Thanks.

Was a bit disappointed that there were so few indications of any recognition of the Polish commitment to Market-Garden (or to Afghanistan for that matter). Sosabowski's parachute brigade was dropped near Arnhem in an effort to help relieve the pressure on the British 1st Airborne and was decimated in the ensuing fighting, and yet I only saw one Polish flag in any of the many shots you took of the various memorials -- it's kind of sad how the service of the Polish exile troops is so consistently overlooked.
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# Scott Dudley 2009-10-12 09:23
In 2000, I had the honor of visiting the American Cemetary there. It was on a weekday and I was surprised at the number of Dutch also visiting. They, perhaps more than any other Europeans, respect and appreciate the sacrifices our vets made. At dusk, there was a ceremonial lowering of our flag and as my friend, an Air Force officer and I stood at attention, so did all the Dutch visitors. An amazing sight. I love the Dutch.
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# Tom Reynolds 2009-10-12 09:32
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# Jim Delaney 2009-10-12 09:53
Splendid presentation again, Michael. Gen. P continues to bowl me over with his intellect, calm and integrity.

Glad you're trekking into the Himalayas during your break in Nepal. You won't regret it. I and a buddy trekked to Mt. Kalipatar, overlooking Everest base camp, about 25 years ago. What a truly awesome experience. Standing alone atop Kalipatar and gazing into the daylight's black sky, only then did I realize how truly insignificant we each of us is in the universal scheme of things. At that moment I fully understood the meaning of "the silence was defeaning". Not a sound at all. Had never understood that phrase before. Utterly alone, just me, my friend and an overwhelming, almost menacing, eternity before us. It really put things into perspective for me. It was a very humbling and mind-jarring experience which will always be part of me.
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# Dr. Kenneth Noisewater 2009-10-12 10:09
Y'all probably know this already, but just in case..
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# David Paul 2009-10-12 10:15
The goose bumps registered the quality of the report.
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# wf 2009-10-12 10:41
Wonderful dispatch Michael, thank you! It seems that Dutch children are well aware of this time in history, as they should. Why are our children not being taught any of this? We have veterans (from WWII to the present) in every city of the US and I would be willing to bet that not five of them have been asked by any school to talk to our children about what they did. We are missing the chance to show our children what honor and duty look like in person.
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# Tim 2009-10-12 11:13
America has always been full of hero's willing to give for the greater good, to protect the weak or needy.
A wonderful group of hero's along with some Dutch hero's as well.
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# Alastair 2009-10-12 11:27
Michael. That was a superb article which I didn't pick up on the British media really covering. Stay safe on returning to Afghan
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# Robert 2009-10-12 12:06
Are so very awesome for remembering the troops that way! Would love it if more in our country understood that. When I was scanning the article I seen where some of the Dutch soldiers want to get back in the fight, I commend them for that. I wish I could go over there and serve as a soldier. However because of a mistake I made when I was younger I am not allowed to serve. So I am working on getting job that will put me there so I can serve that way!
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# Julie Harris 2009-10-12 13:10
Wonderful piece Michael - it brought tears to my eyes. Keep up the good work! Will be praying for your safety. Sincerely and with gratitude, Julie Harris
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# BravoBilly 2009-10-12 13:39
I am 3rd Army brat and a Veteran, too. So when I saw all those veterans, I became proud. Thanks Michael...You are Florida at its finest.
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# Sandy 2009-10-12 13:43' ve got a gift for really transporting us along with you...thanks.
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# Randall Hannaway 2009-10-12 14:33

Thank you for covering this event, truly, thank you. It was the next best thing to being there. These men gave so much, it's vital that what they did during those grave days never be forgotten. I can't imagine the emotions that you must have felt being able to share in such a historical event. We are grateful for all of your efforts both the more enjoyable stories like this one and of course the more difficult war coverage. Keep your head down and be well.
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# Papajimm 2009-10-12 14:40
I have been so pummeled with anti American bashing/demonst rations around the world that this accounting is hard to wrap my emotions around. Do you thing the Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, et. al will every be grateful for the lives and ultimate sacrifices being made to secure their democracy and resulting freedoms? Unlikely. Not the way they roll. Stay safe Michael.
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# Gordon Duff 2009-10-12 15:18
Great photos, great story and a great group of guys being honored.
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# Sara Johnson 2009-10-12 16:17
There is nowhere else I have heard nor read of this event. This post is remarkable and I'll send link to all who care so deeply of our country, its defenders and the veteran liberators for freedom. God Bless You. Keep this up. Extraordinary dispatch. Thank you.
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# David L. 2009-10-12 16:42
My wife's father was Dutch. He worked for Shell in Java and went back into the army as a private as soon as the Japanese attacked. He was captured by the Japanese in Java in 1942, imprisoned there for several months and then sent to Japan by Hell Ship, where he remained imprisoned until the end of the war. He is dead now but a few years ago my wife and I visited some of his and her relatives in Holland. The only place they really insisted that we go was the battleground for Market Garden. A few of my wife's relatives had been children or even young women during WW II. The gratitude and respect for what was done to liberate them was deep and heartfelt. Yet all of her Dutch relatives--comp letely without exception--coul d not fathom why our country chose to fight in Iraq. Afghanistan was never mentioned. It was eclipsed by Iraq at the time.

Thank you for your great reporting.
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# Jarold 2009-10-12 16:47
Whenever I meet someone who is interested in the fight, I tell them of you and your website. Thanks for all you do, and thanks to all our vets, US, Brits, Dutch, and all others on our side. We are in this together. Mike, you get the real truth out. God Bless and Protect You.
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# Alan Johnson 2009-10-12 16:51
As always thanks for the dispatch, and the update and pictures on the memorial services, I wish that people would realize that some people do remember the sacrifice that was made and is being made. Keep up the good work and enjoy the fresh air break.
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# C. Renee Daigle 2009-10-12 16:55
Thank you, Michael, for all that you do to keep us here at home informed.
This post is wonderful. I was enrapt with the Dutch treatment of our veterans. They deserve all of it and more.
Thanks again, God speed, and keep safe. You and all of our troops are in my prayers.
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# Karl Crankshaw 2009-10-12 17:01

Excellent report and pictures, Words cannot express how moved I was at the courage of the Airborne Vets and the way the Dutch people remember and honour the sacrifices that were and continue to be made for freedom.
Stay Safe.
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# Thomas 2009-10-12 17:09
But I will hit the tip jar first.
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# Dennis Graham 2009-10-12 17:18
Thank you Michael,
Praise the Lord for the continueing gratitude of the Dutch people,even after all these years. Please stay safe. You are in my prayers.
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# Philip Lewis 2009-10-12 18:12
I'm not sure what struck me more..the vitality of the WWII veterans, the obvious affection and gratitude of the Dutch for their liberation, the odd contrast of the cornfields of Afghanistan with those of Eindhoven, the strong commitment of the Dutch to supporting foreign policy goals. Really a fine dispatch. You have a tremendous gift, both as a photographer and as a writer. Thank you.
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# Jim S 2009-10-12 18:30
Thank You.
It was nice to read a story about Love for our Military.
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# MikeB 2009-10-12 18:35
Amazing post, thank you.
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# Hester 2009-10-12 18:56
Great dispatch! I just wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to thank the Dutch for this wonderful remembrance. It is so heartening to know there are people who have not forgotten the sacrifices of the allied soldiers.
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# crosspatch 2009-10-12 19:48
I don't know if they still do it but when I served in Europe in the late 1970's there was an annual 100 mile march that was sort of a remembrance of Market-Garden. I attended in 1978. The people were absolutely wonderful and it is an experience I will never forget. Sometimes I really miss that part of the world.
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# Lorenzo from Oz 2009-10-12 20:07
Both moving and informative, thank you
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# Colin Perry 2009-10-12 20:20
It has all been said above. Brilliant....
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# M/SGT R GIL BERG 2009-10-12 21:05
Fantastic sories about WW2...Everyoone one forgets
Keep the writing coming for the true pictures of people and the wars that aree being fought and won....Praise the Dutch.......imh o....
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# M/SGT R GIL BERG 2009-10-12 21:08
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# Kevin 2009-10-12 21:22
Thanks for the story and photo's of Kandahar. As much time as I've spent on the base I've never seen the town. Kabul yes, but Kandahar no.
What an experience with a Corolla full of bad guys after you. Truly unbelievable!
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# D B SMITH 2009-10-12 22:16
Mr Yon I would like to Thank You for the work that you're doing, and encourage you to keep up the superb job. Absolutely fabulous and very informative. Again THANK YOU!
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# Bob Krumm 2009-10-12 22:24
Michael, Your description reminded me of my trip to Nijmegen nearly 20 years ago to participate in the Vierdaagse, the four-day road march. The Dutch, both young and old, came running up to the groups of American soldiers to press flowers and thank-you notes into our hands. They were still as grateful then as they were in 1944.

Something I learned then I had forgotten until you mentioned the Germans stealing Dutch bikes. Apparently there's an idiomatic phrase the Dutch use to describe a trip to Germany that means literally, "I'm going to get my bike back."
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# Peter Haydon 2009-10-13 00:50
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Lance Corporal James Hill from 1st Battalion The Coldstream Guards has been killed by an explosion near to Camp Bastion in central Helmand Province on the morning of 8 October 2009.
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# Ruth 2009-10-13 02:59
Thank you for your excellent post as always. A reminder of a grateful country who value freedom from bondage of tyranny.
A lesson for us all to never, ever forget those who willingly sacrificed, and have laid down there lives to save others. No greater deed than to have courage to face adversity, and to extend the joy of freedom.

Again thank you for the work that you do, so others may know!
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# Maggio 2009-10-13 03:12
Thanks, Michael, for this great site and photos. I would like to add to the conversation by adding a link to the National WWII Glider Pilots Association's website where anyone interested in a mostly forgotten combat MOS can learn more about the Glider Pilots of WWII who played such an important role in all our airborne ops during WWII. Here is the link:
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# a dutchman 2009-10-13 03:13
The spirit of freedom is still very much alive in the Netherlands. And we honour every one who died defending it.
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# Steve C 2009-10-13 03:48
Our forces at KAF (Kandahar Airfield) have a base so large that this commercial jet is about to land there after flying dangerously over this unsecured road.
Mike, with all due respect, could i just point out, that the above sentence is wrong. The RAF Regiment carry out patrols in the areas of flight take off and landing. These patrols are carried out on foot, mobile, standing patrols, using all forms of ISTAR, support weapons and using the Principles of Defence to the fullest extent. Sorry, i had to point this out otherwise my 6 month tours and reason for being there, mean absolutely nothing!
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# Steve C 2009-10-13 03:55
By the way Michael, i look forward most days to reading your articles, a Soldiers journalist if ever there was one, take care.
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# RJR 2009-10-13 03:59
I've not felt so fine in a good while. To see such over the top positive thanks and remembrance strengthens my faith in the goodness of mankind.

thank you to the people of Holland, to Michael Yon and above all to those who made the sacrifice.
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# Sharleen 2009-10-13 04:31
I literally wait for a new dispatch to come out. I periodically check the page and am a little disappointed when there isnt something new. A bit ridiculous, i know, but your writing is appreciated and very refreshing. Im glad there are those that are so thankful for what we have done and what we stand for. Thank you, can't wait to get back to AFG?
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# Rutger van M. 2009-10-13 04:38
Thank you for another brilliant dispatch Michael. I'm a huge admirer of your work. Had I known you were in the Netherlands I would have done everything possible to meet you.

As a Dutchman I'm very thankful for the service and sacrifice of all those allied veterans ) who liberated Europe from evil. Not just American, but Russians, Brits, Poles and Moroccan Goumiers, etc, etc. I'm glad that our efforts in remembering them are so appreciated. However, this kind of emotional remembrance is unfortunately less widespread than it might seem. As in the rest of the world there is much ignorance of and disinterest in our history.

If Obama does not send those reinforcements, the war is lost and we (the Dutch) should pull out as planned in 2010. If he commits to the resources for proper COIN we should continue our contribution as well. The Dutch public does not understand the mission though. Our politicians are mostly ignorant and only look at immediate costs and opinion polls. So I'm afraid the chances of us staying committed to Afghanistan are small.
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# spratico 2009-10-13 05:38
Thanks for a wonderful tribute to our veterans and the gracious Dutch people. May God continue to bless us and our NATO allies.
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# T. Andersen 2009-10-13 06:15
Thanks for the great post. LTC Megelles was the guest speaker at my graduation from Airborne in April 2008, and we were all blown away by the energy and enthusiasm of this 91-year-old hero. It was his first trip back to Fort Benning since he himself had graduated Airborne School, and he told us how little had changed...excep t that now the school is three weeks long instead of four. "When I graduated, we had ground week, and tower week, and jump week, just like you...but we also had 'rigging week', where we all learned to rig our own parachutes. We would jump in the parachutes that we rigged, so we sure sweated those first jumps. I'll let you guess why the Army doesn't have 'rigging week' anymore." A great man.
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# Desert Sailor 2009-10-13 06:21
or at least you should be.

Damn fine article Michael!! You continue to excel and highlight not only our proud heritage but why (and who) we should be proud of everyday!

Stay safe.
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# Papa Ray 2009-10-13 07:19
It seems that you are growing with your aspirations and challenges, and not only keeping up but doing exceptional service to them and of course to all of us.

The respect and admiration of our Vets is something that we could all learn a lot from these fine people in this wonderful Nation. I just wish the average American could see your pictures and this dispatch. But most are too tied up in their own little world with their day to day problems which are not small today and will grow over the next year or more.

Again thanks for an exceptional dispatch and exceptional effort on your part, tho I know you are chomping to get back to our Warriors in Afghanistan. I wish to repeat something I have said to you for years:

Remember...your NOT bullet proof.

Papa Ray
Central (used to be West) Texas
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# Brian 2009-10-13 07:51
Perhaps someday we will commemorate a victory in Afghanistan...m y uncle, though not Airborne, was with Patton and decorated with the Silver and Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts and French Croix de Guerre for, among other things, taking out a Tiger which had pinned down his platoon. After the War he walked the streets at night meeting other combat veterans who were also walking the streets. PTSD was virtually an unknown at that time though following the First World War there had been some research on shell shock and more apparent symptons. Besides all the metal for his chest he also carried a metal plate in his head where a piece of his skull had to be removed. I look at the GIs in Iraq and Afghanistan with the same respect as I view my uncle. Other uncles were 8th AF bomber pilot and USMC in Pacific .My Dad was Air Corp pilot-in-traini ng when the War ended. True heroes and role models unlike most of these overpaid and spoiled athletes who get so much media attention.
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# Kilroy 2009-10-13 09:03
Outstanding post as usual, Mr. Yon. All Americans should be reading this site.
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# Terri LPN 2009-10-13 12:13
Mr. Yon, You are a remarkable reporter! Your photos and the writing place me in the Market Garden,
I Love Listening to the Veterans! Wish I could have been there! God Bless and Be Safe!
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# Christopher 2009-10-13 12:31
You're really very good at this. I love reading you.
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# SaraJean 2009-10-13 16:48
Thank you so much for that wonderful story. My grandfather was a veteran of WWII and that really hits close to home. Thank you also for the work that you do in Afghanistan, it means so much to me to know what is going on over there. A lot of those troops are around my age (25) and it's heartening to know that someone over there is chronicling their journey so that they will be remembered for what they have done, much like the WWII veterans. Knowledge is infectious, thanks for spreading it.
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# Cindy 2009-10-13 17:13
Thank you Mr. Yon for writing this piece and for the photo essay.
This reader feels like I was right there with you.
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# fooburger 2009-10-13 17:14
This was a fantastic piece.
I'm terribly sorry that your warnings weren't heeded on Afghanistan.
I don't know what the problem is... we were showing an 11, the dealer a 7, but we still couldn't double-down.
My question is whether intransigence (of both administrations ) on Afghanistan has made it harder for our soldiers to win there now? I would imagine so, but we need to win it anyways. My apologies to those who will pay for our unwillingness to provide the support they needed the whole time.
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# Dale 2009-10-13 18:21
This was a pleasant and encouraging story to read and one of your best in your collection of treasures.
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# Karridine 2009-10-13 18:54
Thank you, Michael, and THANK YOU to the veterans whose efforts and sacrifices bequeath to us, the living and the liberated, the chance of a lifetime to MAKE OUR LIFETIMES worthy of their sacrifice.

I called my teen sons to wade through this with me, that they, too, might hold high the torch of individual liberty and the responsibility that comes WITH such personal freedom.

Keep up the good work, Sir. (Yes, I see the need for fiscal support, and I'm working on it)
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# Sue Head 2009-10-13 23:26
The 12 College of the Ozarks (Point Lookout, MO) students who accompanied these WWII Veterans had an unmatched educational experience during their jouney reinforcing the College's focus on patriotic education. Thanks for the beautiful photos and commentary. I will pass your link on to the students. Sue Head, The Keeter Center for Character Education, College of the Ozarks
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# neil bausor 2009-10-14 00:02
You let yourself down Michael with the comment below the picture of the RAF Halton Pipe Band. Some of them may well be Scots, but a kilt is normal dress for a pipe band - whether it comes from India, Canada, or an RAF base in England! The RAF Halton Pipe Band is an award winning band based in England but performing all over the world - as seen in your post.
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# Tony Dean 2009-10-14 00:31
I marched through Hertogenbosch with the Royal Welch Fusiliers who liberated that town, very moving experience.

We were in full dress unifrom and the people applauded and threw flowers in our path, couldnt pay for a drink all night.

Stayed in barracks somewhere near Eindoven I think, little bit hazy now as some 10 - 15 years ago.

Thanks Michael for the story and pics

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# Bob 2009-10-14 03:05
Dear Michael: I'm an American expat living in Ede, near Arnhem. Each year in September there is a commemoration at the LZ of 4th Para Bde on the Ginkelse Heide east of Ede. This year over 1,000 British, Dutch, American, Polish and German paratroops jumped to commemorate Operation Market-Garden. The event is, of course, very much directed to remembrance of the British and Polish efforts in and around Arnhem. Many British and Polish veterans still come.

I've noted that there are always small contingents of American soldiers present at these events. This year I took along an extra thermos of coffee. I found a group of soldiers from the 101st Division. Shook their hands, and thanked them for their service and all they've done for their country. I offered them my coffee, but they had a job to do, but seemed pleased to shake my hand and give their names.

I didn't do much at all for these folks, but am glad that, in even the smallest way, these soldiers know that they are appreciated.
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# Olaf 2009-10-14 03:24
I am 1 of the Dutch re-enacters (with my brother and friends) present at the Waalcrossing monument (also participated in the Eindhoven parade).
For us its very moving to be able to see, talk and thank the Allied veterans who helped liberate us from oppression before I was even born.

Lets hope peace will finally be achieved in places like Iraq and Afghanistan soon. Keep safe.

-We will remember-
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# Emily 2009-10-14 03:51
What a wonderful post. This is an inspiring story admist the negative news we always here. To have a country that is grateful for their liberation gives me hope that others might follow in their footsteps in the future. I felt like I was there. Fantastic retelling of the event!
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# klondike 2009-10-14 04:29
Michael this is an excellent report !
As one of the organiser of re-enactment camp Dropzone-A at Eerde we could just focus on our own programm. With this beautiful report we get an excellent view of all the other commemorations that have been organized.
I am also glad that you have captured the story of Guadalope, I took him in my Jeep for the Eindhoven parade. It was an honor.
Well done.

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# Keith 2009-10-14 04:53
As usual, a moving post. Thank you.

I was a bit subdued by Canada only sending their defence attache when our country played such a huge role in the liberation of Holland during WW2.

Some say that without the Canadians surprising the Taliban with their willingness to fight, the city of Kandahar would have fallen in 2006. I don't know if that is true, but the instant cooperation between the Dutch and the Canadians at the equipment level (tanks, helicopters)in 2006 led to a much better equipped and protected Canadian force. Although, again, as Michael says repeatedly, much more needed and needs to be done on the kit and protection our soldiers need for the job at hand.
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# Robert 2009-10-14 05:51
The Dutch have not forgotten. They also do alot of the fighting in A-stan. M. Yon, keep that pistol close...
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# The Kitchen Dispatch Kanani 2009-10-14 05:57
What an absolutely all-encompassin g post. From the danger in Afghanistan, to a country liberated in another era that has definitely progressed since then. It's good to see the veterans so well appreciated, after what seems like decades of silence over here for much too long. Once again, job well done Michael.
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# Lewis in Orlando 2009-10-14 06:48
Good story - hopefully some day our Middle East veterans (or at least their children) can enjoy similar ceremonies such as this one in Holland for the WWII veterans.
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# Sean 2009-10-14 07:27
Keep it up. I had no idea the Dutch were so gracious and honored our veterans in such a manner. I hope our vets receive the same kind of special attention here in the U.S. They deserve it.
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# Winston 2009-10-14 09:00
Michael, in your 1st page you have mentioned arabian gulf. That's incorrect. It's persian gulf. I thought you would be careful with historical facts on your blog.
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# Mack McKinney 2009-10-14 10:46
I am simply amazed at your post from Eindhoven. Thorough, respectful, detailed, with something for everyone. You captured the events perfectly with your words and pics. The Netherlanders have long memories and really appreciate their liberators from WWII. Let's start a campaign here in the US to get WWII and Korean War vets invited to speak at local schools, to try to give our students a true perspective on history, unaltered by revisionists and politics. Is anyone doing this on a national level? If so, respond to and I'll get involved.
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# Charles T. 2009-10-14 11:53
Great dispatch, Michael. A very moving display by the Dutch people. I hope I can visit their beautiful country some day.
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# Bill Smith 2009-10-14 21:51
Michael writes that he often calls it the Arabian Gulf because a lot of people call it the Arabian Gulf. Others call it the Persian Gulf. I have found it labeled both ways on maps and globes.
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# David Carlson 2009-10-15 03:19
Michael, this was a great dispatch. God bless you and keep you safe as you navigate the dangerous territory you choose to report from.

You remarked about the length of your dispatch; it could have been twice as long and not been long enough. I would never tire of seeing these greatful remembrances and the distinguished veterans who gave their youth and their friends to the liberation of others from tyranny. Tremendous job.
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# teri bingham 2009-10-15 04:26
Thanks Michael. My Dad was one of those flying the gliders. He would have enjoyed your story...I did.
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# Andre 2009-10-15 06:33
What a great dispatch! I really enjoyed this and was touched by the warmth and respect of the Dutch. A nice tribute to our most special veterans. Thanks to all of them for our liberty and to you for all you do Michael!
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# James Maggie Megellas 2009-10-16 07:52
Thank you for this great article!!!
I hope to see you again later this year

All the Way,

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# Janet 2009-10-16 08:51
Your a good man, Michael. Thank you for your reporting.
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# Wil Cushman 2009-10-16 13:35
Excellent photos and commentary. It is heartening to see the Dutch hospitality to our veterans. It often seems as if we are going it alone these days and it is important that we realize that there are others who stand with us.
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# Mark Pichaj 2009-10-16 19:34
Coincidentally, I had just finished re-reading Cornelius Ryan's *A Bridge Too Far* when I looked at the calendar and saw that I was reading about MARKET-GARDEN exactly 65 years after it happened, to the day, when the shattered British 1st Airborne had to be withdrawn across the Rhine. (Chills.) Tragically, the failure of the op condemned the Dutch to a winter of starvation and months more before liberation—and yet, look at how they express their gratitude to the veterans that attempted to free them from the Nazis! No Euro-hatred of America, here. I am amazed at the sacrifices of these gallant men, and glad that there are those who remember history, and keep the remembrance alive for the rest of us. You are doing that, Michael, in real-time, and I thank you for your photos and journalism. Take care of yourself, eh? Speaking of history, today (10-16-09) is the 50th anniversary of the passing of GENARMY George Catlett Marshall, America's Number One Soldier (at least, during WW2).
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# osaer charles 2009-10-17 01:43
Great work Michael I'm a member of a belgium reinactment club the patton drivers and owns a dodge WC 54 ambulance after seeing this pictures I hope to take part one day at this great commemoration in holland.Keep up the good work charles
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# Matthew Gonzalez 2009-10-17 07:05
"Now do you believe that Dutch people treat our veterans like rock stars and Royalty? Are you tired? Is this dispatch too long? But wait. It’s not over yet"

HAHA I never doubted you for a minute, but those photos and events were still incredible to behold. May God Bless the Dutch and Holland. Wonderful dispatch.
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# Peter Montbriand 2009-10-17 10:02
Thank you for this work! I pray to God that our friends in Holland can win their fight with radical islam, they seem to be a country that "gets it".
This was not too long. The vets day are few, and I know they will treasure this trip and ceremony for the rest of their lives. This tribute got to me. Different wars and different eras, but the fighters are timeless. Those who claim America is going to hell are wrong.
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# Soljerblue 2009-10-17 18:34
Mike -- superb piece, too short (if anything), and the photos were fantastic. I've known for sometime how well the Nederlanders honor the Allied soldiers who liberated them. A member of my late uncle's infantry squad from the 95th ID is buried in Margraten, and his grave has been in the special care of a Dutch family for many years.
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# Christopher 2009-10-20 16:00
Bravo ... my father was a WW II vet ... at Lt in the medical corps .... I am proud of America!
Thank you ... this is why ...

Best wishes ... God Bless
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# Frank Drewry 2009-10-21 08:32
Nice!!!!! Many of these bring back memories of my time in Normandy during the D-Day celebrations this summer. Talking to the veterans, American, British, Canadian, Belgian, and French (resistance) was THE highlight of our time there. In fact, on page 4, in the picture with Ralph is a Brit sitting in a wheelchair. I met him and his "driver" in St Mere Eglise. They are 100 and 89, respectively.
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# Roel Manders 2009-10-21 09:54
Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for your article and photo's. I'm glad Americans can read that a lot of Dutchmen have adopted graves of fallen American soldiers. I have also adopted several graves. By doing this I will hope to keep the memory alive of what your countrymen and great nation did for my parents and my people.

Kind regards,
Roel Manders
The Netherlands
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# Jack E. Hammond 2009-10-21 22:06
Dear Michael,

It would take some time, but the British MERLIN is about the best helicopter in the world today for medivac missions in areas like Afghanistan. It is a helicopter over powered for its size and can easily operate in hot-high climates. The British are now bringing up to speed some MERLIN medivac helicopter pilots and crews in California. The Danes had done them a favor and sold back some rescue MERLINs that they had bought. On one condition. That some of their pilots and crews could train with the British medivac MERLINs in California and on combat missions in Afghanistan. Because the Danes are probably the #3 NATO country that is pulling more of its' weight in Afghanistan (for what ever reason its soldiers volunteer or it in numbers and want to go to Afghanistan and fight). They plan to send a large MERLIN medivac unit to Afghanistan in the near future.

Jack E. Hammond

NOTE> The first MERLINs crews in Afghanistan discovered that the low sound level of that helicopter made it much more survivable than the CH-47 Chinook (the king of helicopters in Afghanistan, although as the British say, it can be detected from take off to combat LZ to back to base by the Taliban by its sound level).

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# Matt Baker 2009-10-30 01:07

thanks, a very emotional and moving piece. Having been to Nijmegen and seen the sites and war graves I know the impact it has.

For interest to others, when Market Garden failed and Holland was set to starve thoughout the winter, known as the "Hongerwinter", the Allies and Germans agreed a plan "operation Manna" for food drops in April and May to relieve the starvation in certain areas. Over 5000 flights were made through agreed corridors to drop food, some of the planes going in so low that they had to look up to see the Dutch people waving to them. It didn't stop the starvation, but it helped to relieve a very dire time for the Dutch.
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# Felix Drost 2009-11-01 14:26
I am from Arnhem, my wife from Nijmegen. I sincerely hope one day the Iraqi and Afghani people can look back like I do and truly appreciate the sacrifice that was made. I'm sorry to have missed this year's ceremonies, but instead I spent the time vacationing for the first time with my wife and baby daughter. Maybe just carrying on with my life in happiness and liberty is the greatest compliment I can make to those who gave their lives.

I'll be at the Arnhem bridge though, I love these men and what they stand for.
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# Bryon 2009-11-13 21:07
I wish Americans celebrated Memorial Day like the Dutch do! Thank you for your report. I read the whole thing from start to finish in one sitting. I could not take myself away from it. It was not too long! May God be with you and keep you safe along with all our troops in harms way!
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# Ad Moest 2009-12-04 02:56
A pity that you were not at the ceremony for Ltc Cole (MoH) His monument is now very close to the spot he was shot.
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# P. J. Hartwick 2010-01-11 22:05
Thak you , Michael, for this report. It was particularly inspiring to note that so many young people seemed genuinely interested in the veterans and their stories. I was astonished at the re-enactment volunteers. There's no better way to teach the important lessons across the generations that these kinds of things. It seems a rare thing these days that there would be such an outpouring of appreciation -- indeed, affection -- for what those "oh-so-young men of the 101st did. I guess that their reputation and the level of appreciation is in proportion to the Dutch citizens realizing they were giving their all -- for them. It's nice to know they are still appreciated, 60 years later. The adoption of a cross by a Dutch family in the American Battle Monuments Cemetery is touching indeed.

Many thanks.
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# RE: MARKET GARDENKevin Casner 2014-08-24 21:31

My nam e is Kevin Casner. I live in the Charlotte, North Carolina area of the USA.

My father is Raymond Casner. he is 89 years of age. He was with the 502 PIR F company of the 101st Airbourne and jumped in Operation Market Garden September 17th 1944. He was a private and was a demolition specialist.

My father has always wanted to return to Europe/Holland, but has never pursued it for health reasons (even though he is very active and spry for an 89 year old man)

The reason for my email is this. My brother Steve Casner, my father, and myself are flying into London on September 15th. On the 17th we plan to take a flight from London to Amsterdam, rent a car and drive towards Eindhoven, where my father has made hotel reservations. I'm wondering if there are any festivities or memorial celebrations that we could attend during this time. I will travel back home with my father on the 21st of September.

Sometime around the 19th or 20th of September of 1944 my father was injured in a blast that left him unconscious for a period of time. From what I've been able to discover most of his clothes were blown off and his dog tags were lost. He was reported Missing in action...then later reported Killed in action. I have a copy of his obituary in the local paper from December of 1944.

Obviously my father wasn't killed. We would love to know about anything that may be of interest for his first return there since 1944.

Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.
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