It is at the invitation of the Mayor of Meierijstad, Province of Brabant in the Netherlands, Mr. Kees van Rooij, that Jean Pierre Lhonneur, Mayor of Carentan les Marais, accompanied by Sébastien Lesné, attended all weekend the commemorations of the Operation Market Garden, which marked the beginning of the liberation of the Netherlands on September 17, 1944. This airborne operation, at the time the most important of all times, was led by the famous 101st American Airborne Division, the same one that a few months earlier, in June 1944, liberated Carentan.
“This is the first time that an elected official from Carentan has attended the Dutch commemorations,” explained Jean Pierre Lhonneur. “The municipality of Meierijstad, which encompasses the historic municipalities of Veghel and Eerde, shares the same historical heritage as Carentan-les-Marais, celebrating each year the same soldiers, the same veterans, the same American units that distinguished themselves during the liberation of our city. It was only natural that we should forge ties with Meierijstad, which thanks and honors our liberators with the same fervor as we do every year.”
Inauguration of the milestone of the Liberation Route, commemorations at the Geronimo monument dedicated to the 501st parachute regiment in Eerde, museum visits, Jean Pierre Lhonneur and Sébastien Lesné have been be able to exchange with their Dutch counterparts throughout the weekend, particularly on the issues of remembrance tourism, and on possible exchanges with young people from Normandy.
“We are meeting here with the same officers of the 101st Airborne that we welcomed in Carentan. The 101st is really the cement that unites us with our Dutch friends, who have shown us great friendship and whom we have very spontaneously invited to come and see our celebrations next June,” concludes Sébastien Lesné.