Ayden Garlinsky-Gonsky is serving on a Rotary Exchange in the Netherlands where he was able to get a greater sense of Canada’s effort in liberating the country.

Young Riverite gets up close and personal look at the war effort

The Canadian Armed Forces played a significant role in liberating the Netherlands

“It wasn’t until that moment, standing where 70 years ago a battle had raged, that I really felt the significance of what had happened.”

That’s the feeling Campbell River youth Ayden Garlinski-Gonsky described during a visit to the grave of a Canadian solider who died freeing the Netherlands from Nazi Germany rule.

Garlinski-Gonsky visited the memorial recently with his host grandmother who wanted to show the young man a small part of his Canadian heritage.

Garlinski-Gonsky, who graduated from Timberline this past summer, is currently on an exchange with Rotary, attending Grade 12 in Rhoon, a small town that borders the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Garlinski-Gonsky said his host grandmother was eager to show him the memorial to a Canadian solider who lost his life during the Liberation of the Netherlands during World War II.

So, after picking two roses from her garden, and attaching a small note to each stem, the pair set off.

“On the walk there, she told me the story of how this unknown Canadian solider had been the last person to die in a small battle that had taken place there,” Garlinski-Gonsky said in an email to the Rotary Club. “The memorial had been financed by members of the surrounding community who had decided to recognize the lives of the individuals who had lost their lives liberating (what was formerly known as) Holland.”

The Canadian Armed Forces (the First Canadian Army) played a significant role in liberating the Netherlands from a five-year long occupation by Nazi Germany. This May 5 marked 70 years since the Netherlands was freed by the allied forces.

Campbell River held a special ceremony in Spirit Square to mark the anniversary. The Netherlands has celebrated Liberation Day since 1945 and in 1990 it was first celebrated as a national holiday.

Garlinksi-Gonsky said seeing a memorial to one of the many who gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom was humbling.

“It was a very powerful moment for me as a Canadian, standing there with my host grandma, who had lived through the Second World War, paying our respects to this man who had liberated her neighbourhood.”

Garlinski-Gonsky, a member of the local youth band Off to Sea, said his host grandma then asked him to sing O Canada.

“After I finished singing, we placed our roses and headed back home,” he said. “Growing up in Canada, I had always known the significance of the Second World War, but it wasn’t until that moment, standing where 70 years ago a battle had raged, that I really felt the significance of what had happened over those dark six years.”

Ayden Garlinski-Gonski poses with new Dutch friends and other exchange students.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Repaved stretch of Hwy. 19A dangerous, Campbell River cyclist says

Mayor says city could do better job at consulting with cyclists and other residents

Campbell River-area residents on the hook following fisheries violations

DFO announces convictions related to sea urchin, prawn fisheries

Campbell River arena first to switch to carbon dioxide from ammonia

Work to decommission refrigeration system at Strathcona Gardens now underway

VIDEO: Heroes highlighted in Campbell River

The 2nd annual Local Hero Awards took place on May 16 in Campbell River

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

Prepare yourself for tick season, says Island Health official

2017 saw three reported cases of Lyme disease

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterrey, Calif.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Most Read