Antwerp, like other cities, celebrated Armistice Day on Wednesday. Alderman Bart De Wever (N-VA) mentioned the crisis at the borders of Europe in his speech, calling on Belgium and other countries to act humanely.
The first ceremonies took place at the Schoonselhof cemetery, where representatives of the 4 main religions prayed and an agnostic representative made a speech.
Dozens of high school students marched through the city towards the War Memorial in a “torchlight procession for peace”.
Delegations of veterans, former resistant fighters, political prisoners, police and army personnel, as well as Cathy Berx, Governor of Antwerp region, were present when Bart De Wever was handed the torch by young participants.
“Peace is brittle and fragile. Reaching and keeping peace is much harder than starting a foolish war. And as I say this, the world is up in arms at the borders of our continent,” said Mr. De Wever. “We must hope that this Remembrance Day may inspire not just ourselves and our loved ones, but everyone around the world, to act with common sense, compassion, and contrition.”
Antwerp’s first magistrate called on present and future generations to care about each other.
Historian Pieter Serien then spoke of 2 teenagers who wrote a diary describing the horrors of the war and of the German occupation.