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when a veteran is not a veteran

Nederlandse Veteranendag, a kind of memorial day for all of Netherlands' veterans held here last Saturday, was a very big deal: there are something like 120,000 of them. 20,000 came, 8,000 marched in the parade. Holland apparently sends troops to everywhere the UN gets involved in peacekeeping, so they've gone here and there all over the world for the last fifty-plus years; or, when there is a major conflict that affects the country, like World War II... they celebrated with bands, jet flyovers, generals and privates, like Memorial Day in the States or maybe July 4.

But there were also things for all ages to do... some motorized wheelchair vets were permitted to drive among the marchers, with their units, in the parade, and the kids / relatives / just visitors / loved to climb all over the military exhibits. There were horses to watch in a show, the cavalry unit goes back to the 1600's or so and wore authentic replica costumes, as they do today:

---Involving women, too, a definitely non-1600's development.

I mostly think the kids looked at this as a huge playground with toys much bigger than they could get into their toyboxes in their living rooms. Anyway, that's what I'd *like* to think, rather than the alternative: Dutch families hatching out junior Rambos and Lara Crofts to go kill people to keep us safe... here's one climbing up the side of an F-16A:

RESCUE, indeed. We need to be rescued from weaponry.

There was a big campaign for the Dutch in New Guinea, South Pacific after 1945, but these kids look more like they want to play in the sand and get into the rubber boat rather than think about war:

And the Queen's Marines had a climbing wall: they got your young boy or girl strapped into a harness and they tried to climb up 7 or 8 meters -- FAR taller than they were -- to reach up and ring a bell at the top... after which they were lowered down and unharnessed and got a cap to remember. One of the girls is just trying to push with her R foot to go up higher, and we were all nervous even though we knew she wouldn't be allowed to fall:

And then:

That's a big poster from the Queen, maybe a recruiting one...

After she landed, she came over to the protective fence to join her parents, and her tee was printed with the words "True Love Never Dies". I need her to believe that, even if she volunteers for the military and starts climbing real rocks.

I wonder if the Queen's Marines pay attention to tees.

Hope so.


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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