Monument in Overloon
On Saturday 27 September 2008 in Overloon a monument for the American 7th Armored Division was inaugurated, opposite of the Liberty Park. The Committee Monument Overloon arranged a suitable ceremony.
The American 7th Armored Division suffered great losses during their attack on Overloon. Vortum-Mullem was liberated, but Overloon could not be liberated due to the heavy opposition of the German forces. In the end the British 3rd Infantery Division and the 11th Armored Division succeeded in liberating Overloon and Venray despite heavy losses. During the battle of Overloon the American forces lost 452 men, including 220 casualties.
In September 2007, during a visit of veterans of the American 7th Armored Division to Overloon, the members of committee Niek Hendrix, Peter van de Pasch, Hans van Toer, Piet Peters, Herman Dinnissen, Harry Beckers and Henk Alders concluded there was no monument for the American casualties. Several years earlier a monument for the British liberators of the 3rd Infantery Division was inaugurated next to the Loobeek (also known as the 'Blood stream') between Overloon and Venray.
In March 2008 the idea to realize a monument was taken up again and 6 months later this goal was achieved. An own monument for the Americans who died in the battle of Overloon.
In contrast with October 1944, which was covered with heavy rainfall, Saturday 27 September 2008 was a day of beautiful weather. The ceremony started at 15.00 hours when master of ceremonies Hans van Toer welcomed all guests. Among these guests were Mr. Van Soest (mayor of Boxmeer), Colonel Stimson (military attaché of the American army in The Hague) and Mrs. Enschede (founder of the organisation "Overseas Americans Remember"). Also present were representatives of the "Foundation remembrance battle of Overloon", Mr. Van den Dungen (general manager of Liberty Park) and pastor Tolboom of the St. Theobaldus parish in Overloon who blessed the monument.
Two special guests attended the ceremony, two Dutch veterans who enlisted in the 7th Armored Division and fought during the liberation of Europe. These veterans, Hans Janssen and Albert van Leeuwen, revealed the monument accompanied by applause of all people present. The ceremony was musically accompanied by the Overloon fanfare "Vriendenkring". Also present were several re-enactment groups with their American vehicles. Among these groups The Lucky Seventh who wants to keep the memory of the American 7th Armored Division alive. All people present had the opportunity to view the vehicles, among these a Sherman tank, so everybody could turn back in time. The whole event was covered by representatives of the press, including Omroep Brabant and Blos RTV.
An impressive moment during the ceremony was the part of the garlands. Children dressed in special costumes offered garlands to the guests who placed the garlands in front of the monument.
At the end of the ceremony a fly-by was performed by four F16's of the 312th squadron of the Royal Dutch Air Force. Under the command of Colonel Wido (Nose) van de Mast they performed the Missing Man formation. At precisely 15.50 hours four F16's appeared overhead in diamond formation. When arriving right above the monument the F16 which closed the diamond formation left the formation and reached for the sky. The afterburner created a massive noise.
A last tribute to the soldiers of the American 7th Armored Division who gave their lives for our freedom.
Peter van de Pasch
Hans van Toer
Foto’s: Henk van de Pasch OverloonClick images to enlarge.