Making of the monument
of the Airborne Committee Eerde is to keep remembering the
liberation of our
village and the region by the Allies in 1944.
Our challenge is to keep the memory of the Second World War and the liberation alive and to teach the younger generations that freedom is not to be taken for granted, but has been paid with many young lives.
The Airborne Committee Eerde was spontaneously founded about 1970. In those years the first American veterans started coming to the Netherlands and visiting Eerde. Although they always got a warm reception welcome at the Van Riel home, nothing was really organized for their reception.
As the years passed, the groups became larger and the visits became more frequent. Some inhabitants of Eerde thought that the the American guests deserved a better reception. So they formed a committee to give visiting veterans all kinds of support. This was the start of the Airborne Committee Eerde.
In 1981 the then members of the Airborne Committee designed and built a memorial. This monument, dedicated to the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, who were dropped in Eerde in 1944, strengthened the ties with the veterans very much. The monument was unveiled in September 1981 by Jack Thornton from Oklahoma City, who was a captain in that Regiment. The monument is situated near the famous windmill.
Over the years, the founders of the Committee have passed away. But they inspired younger people who continued their work. The Airborne Committee Eerde is now a very active group of which Jos van der Doelen is the chairman. The secretary is Ad van de Laar. The other members are Piet Vissers, Marianne Siebers, Erwin Janssen and Iwan van Dijk.
Every year on May 4th and September 17th there are special commemorations and there is a close bond with the so called "adoption class", the highest class of the Petrus and Paulus Primary School in Eerde. The children are very involved in the ceremonies. The objective is to pass on this part of our history to our youth again and again.