Dear Honorable Ambassador,

I would like to extend my thanks to you for accepting the Dutch UNIFIL veterans to honor and commemorate our fallen US Marine comrades at the monument “They Came In Peace”, it was truly impressive.

Your warm presence and kind words made the commemoration even more memorable. The reception afterward and the fact that we could meet and talk with your staff officers and servicemen in an unstrained manner caused that the veterans felt at ease and appreciated.

I remember the story’s my late father used to tell me about the young American soldiers who enlisted to liberate the Netherlands. He often took me and my brothers and sisters to the US war cemetery’s in The Netherlands, Belgium, and France and taught us never to forget the sacrifices those young men and their families back home made.

My father did not hesitate when I asked him at the age of 18 to grant me permission to voluntary join the Dutch army to go on a mission to Lebanon.

I myself was touched when my daughter Nathalia recited the poem during the ceremony at the US Embassy to honor our US Marine brothers. when I looked at the faces of our Lined-up veterans my father’s face appeared in my memory.

He inspired me with his stories about brave young American servicemen, as I try to do with my children now and I know our veterans do the same with their children.

To close, I would again like to express my gratitude for an unforgettable commemoration ceremony on behalf of our foundation “ Weerzien met Libanon” and the Dutch UNIFIL Veterans.

Please know that all our brothers will not be forgotten for “They came in Peace”.

Sincerely yours,

Chris Laarhoven

Chairman of the foundation “Reunion with Lebanon”

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