Remembrance day: Cowansville students plant tulips sent from the Netherlands

MONTREAL - Students at Massey-Vanier High School in Cowansville on Wednesday planted seventy-five tulip bulbs sent from the Netherlands.

The number is significant: one bulb for each year since Canadian soldiers helped liberate Holland from the clutches of a Nazi occupation.

Special education technician Gloria Robinson helped her students plant the bulbs beneath a thin layer of soil, so they sprout in Spring. If all goes well, a field of bright orange flowers will bloom just in time for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands.

"Today, what we did is we planted our liberation 75 tulips. They were a gift from the kingdom of the Netherlands. We are one of the lucky 1,100 schools that received them," she explained.

Special-needs students placed the bulbs in the ground. If they lived during WWII, they would have been among the first people the Nazis killed, Robinson told them.

"What we try to do with our students is always be honest," she said.

Canadian forces helped push the Germans out of Nazi-occupied Holland. The last Nazis in Holland surrendered on May 5, 1945. Three days later, the war in Europe ended.

The Dutch people treated Canadian soldiers like heroes. Their gratitude extends to the present day, in the form of the tulips, sent as a gift.

Veterans and Legion members helped the children with their gardening. The message behind the tulips, and the history they convey is a reminder of those who fought for their countries, they said.

"I enjoyed it immensely," said Barry Bellware, from Legion Branch 99, of the planting. "To see the children helping us, guiding us, pointing the way, it was wonderful. I really enjoyed it." 

With files from CTV Montreal's Angela Mackenzie