August 15, 2021 was the 76th Anniversary of the end of the Japanese occupation in the Dutch East Indies. From California to the Netherlands, all of the victims from World War II were commemorated.
In Los Angeles, Sandra van Lommel-Ly, on behalf of Comite 15 Augustus 1945, placed a wreath at the Los Angeles National Cemetery commemoration monument. The ceremony was in remembrance of the heroic strength of members of the armed forces, resistance fighters, and civilians who lost their lives in the Dutch East Indies and areas of Southeast Asia during World War II.
Sandra’s remarks: “Who could have predicted that COVID-19 would remain with us for well over a year and give cause to yet again have to pause holding our annual Commemoration Ceremony/Herdenkings Ceremonie and the Freedom Ball/Bevrijdingsball. These annually held events are to celebrate and honor the heroic strength of members of the armed forces, resistance fighters and civilians who lost their lives in the Netherlands East Indies and areas of Southeast Asia during World War II, and to recognize those who have persevered following August 15, 1945. In remembrance, the Comite 15 Augustus 1945 placed a wreath at our monument at the Los Angeles National Cemetery. While we may not be able to gather at this time, let us never forget how this date matters, then, today, and forever more.”
In San Francisco, Henny Neys was not able to organize a commemoration at the Cemetery in LaFayette with the Soldiers and The Consulate. Instead, she organized a small, very emotional memorial at her home.
Henny’s remarks: “Finally, I can bid you welcome again after at least a year and a half not having seen each other. The first Kumpulan for some of us without their loved one, for me our Michele, she always loved the Kumpulans especially the ANMF ones with the Raffle and Matt and Danny doing their best to entertain us. We just lost Ferry and Rudie Breukers. Lets wish them a safe journey up there.
Today, August 15, it’s sad that Gijs and I could not do the Memorial in LaFayette on the Hill for the second time. Let’s hope we can do it next year. Instead, we are having a small Memorial here at my house today, to Honor all who perished in the war against Japan and all who perished in World War II. Let’s not forget all who fought for our freedom many years ago and still do. Let’s cherish our freedom and make the best of this Pandemic, we can do it. Now we can start our memorial in our own way. I love you all….”
In The Netherlands, the National Commemoration in The Hague is organized by Nationale Herdenking 15 Augustus 1945. The National Commemoration 15 August had 1,000 attendees. Invited individuals were survivors or related to survivors of the war with Japan and the Japanese occupation of the then Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia.
Chairman Thom de Graaf remarks: “We remember our shared past; a past that burns and chafes, but also connects and unites. We commemorate people and the human values that have been trampled underfoot for so long, often literally. Even more than the Malay words, I occasionally heard later, the war spoke into what has not been said in our family in all those years.”
While the traditional 15 August Herdenking Commemoration took place at the Indisch Monument in The Hague, another important Commemoration took place underneath the 22-meter pylon at the National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam sponsored by Het Indisch Platform 2.0. and Stichting Vervolgingsslachtoffers Jappenkamp. Under a bright blue sky on a warm sunny day, approximately 250 people attended this Commemoration dedicated to the “strong women and widows”.
Read more about past Herdenking and Commemoration Day ceremonies:
The Indo Project wants to know how you celebrated this year’s Commemoration Day amidst the second pandemic surge. Please comment below.