A haunting solo commemorates our fallen

About six miles from Maastricht, Netherlands, 8,301 American soldiers lie buried. They died in Operation Market Garden during the battles to liberate Holland in the fall/winter of 1944. All men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemeteries, have been adopted by Dutch families who mind the grave, decorate it, and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted. It’s even the custom to keep a portrait of “their” soldier in a place of honor in their home. Annually, on “Liberation Day,” memorial services are held for “the men who died to liberate Holland.” The day concludes with a concert culminating in a performance of “Il Silenzio,” a memorial piece commissioned by the Dutch and first played in 1965 on the 20th anniversary of Holland’s liberation. It has been the concluding piece of the memorial concert ever since. In 2020, the soloist was a 13-year-old Dutch girl, Melissa Venema, backed by André Rieu and the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands. This piece is based upon the original version of taps and was composed by Italian composer Nino Rossi.

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