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June 6, 1997



June 6, 1944


my parents were captives

young children

held in Hitlers hand

observers of the wreck about them

viewers from afar

of their parents understanding

they could not have ever met

in occupied Holland


strange men

carrying with them strange white loaves

new after years of famine

and delicious

freed them

their first step fell at Normandy

to turn the tide of war


years later

in freedom

their families pulled up stakes

sailed to Canadas distant shore

and met where they could not have met

had Hitlers reign endured


in that simple way

I owe my life

to strange men of war

bearing white loaves

to me

they are heroes


“Greater love hath no man than this,

that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

These were not friends

and their love is beyond our ken

but this I know

near every day I live

I thank God for them



My mom (Texel) still remembers the Canadians coming

over the narrows in their machines, carrying with them

white bread: “The best bread I ever tasted.”  My Dad

(Gelderland) recalls dogfights overhead.  Mom (Texel)

tells the story of an Islander with the Canadian armies

convinced his commander to send one or two amphibious

vehicles to Texel just so they would not be left out.


Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)


D-Day - June 6, 1944

A poem by Peter Rhebergen
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