On Wednesday, May 4, the Government of Sint Maarten will recognize National Remembrance Day, (“Dodenherdenkingsdag”) similar to the other countries within the Dutch Kingdom.
During this National Commemoration Day, all Dutch victims – civilians and soldiers – who have been killed or murdered in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world in war situations or during peace-keeping operations since the outbreak of the Second World War are commemorated.
Between 1940 and 1945 more than 260.000 victims in the Kingdom of the Netherlands died, among which as many as 160 Antilleans (more new names are being discovered). Most perished in the sea in the Caribbean region but also in Europe.
This year, the solemn commemoration ceremony will be threefold. The ceremony will commence at 5:00 p.m. (arrival of guests no later than 4:30 p.m.) at the New Baptist Church in Philipsburg.
This part of the program includes an invocation by Pastor Nanton, readings by the winners of the 2021 Governor’s Youth Award for Excellence, Jaime Lynch, and Faith Peterson, who will be reading on behalf of the late Gerard van Veen and Elsje Bosch, who each personally experienced the effects of World War II.
A segment of their personal life story will be shared. The importance of knowing your history is shared by the Director of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library, Glenderin Holiday.
On a yearly basis the ‘Caribbean Think Book for 4 and 5 May’ is shared by the Philipsburg Jubilee Library with all the schools on the island.
The National Committee for 4 and 5 May developed this special book for students of group 7 in the Caribbean to learn about the themes of commemorating and celebrating, freedom and democracy.
The Commander of the Marines, Arie Noordam, will share some of his personal experiences throughout his combat years at the Marines.
Individuals ranging from the preteens to our elderly will be reflecting on the meaning and significance of freedom through word or poetry.
One of these poets includes Ray Angel Boasman, winner of the Governor’s Youth Award for Excellence of the year 2020. The
ceremony at the church to which the general public is invited is followed by a silent procession to the Captain Hodge Wharf.
At the War Memorial Monument on the Wharf, the official wreath-laying ceremony by His Excellency the Governor, the President of Parliament Hon. Grisha Heyliger Marten, and the Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs, will take place.
This is followed by two minutes of silence just before 6:00 p.m. Special and invited guests will also receive an opportunity to lay a single flower at the Memorial Monument, which carries the names of the World War II victims primarily born on Sint Maarten.
Tefari Prevoo Francisco, winner of the Governor’s Youth Award for Excellence, will play the Dutch Anthem ‘the Wilhelmus’ and the Sint Maarten Song.
Business owners are reminded to fly their flags half-mast on May 4. Each citizen is encouraged to honor the silent procession from the Baptist Church via the Parliament Building to the Captain Hodge Wharf and the two minutes of silence around 6:00 p.m.
There will be limited access to the Captain Hodge Wharf during the solemn ceremony. The public is invited to attend taking COVID-19 protocols in consideration.