Above: General Cotten awarding Mark the Nijmegen medal
Mark finished the Nijmegen March today!
Above: Marchers carrying bundles of gladioli
The last day is famous for “Via Gladiola”. Thousands of locals line the last stretch of road before the finish to cheer on the marchers. That street, the St. Annastraat, is called “Via Gladiola” for the day. The gladiola is the official flower of the marches, and it’s tradition to give them to the participants. People reserve spaces alongside the Via Gladiola by placing chairs and even couches days ahead.
Gladioli are a symbol of force and victory stemming from Roman times when gladiators were showered with gladioli. The Nijmegen marchers are similarly “showered” in flowers.
You’re exhausted, and your whole body aches. But once you’re walking along the Via Gladiola you don’t notice the discomfort anymore.
Mark is so thankful for this adventure of a lifetime! He experienced firsthand the special relationship Canada has with the Netherlands and formed a lifetime of memories and bonds. It’s amazing to witness how Dutch people uphold the memory of what Canadians did for them decades ago. The memories Mark formed will stay with him always.
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