4 countries, 6 weeks, 7,000 km – an unforgettable war memorial trip to Europe
‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’ is a new non-fiction book from Prince Edward Island author Daria Valkenburg
North Tryon, Prince Edward Island. In 2015, retired diplomat Pieter Valkenburg began researching 48 names on the cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion. “Who were these men? he had asked himself during Remembrance Day ceremonies.
As someone born during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Pieter wanted to show his gratitude to the Canadian soldiers who had given their lives for the freedom of Western Europe. He decided to research these names on the cenotaph and enlisted the help of his wife Daria, who documented his research on their blog “On The War Memorial Trail Research Project” (see https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/) and in the island newspapers. .
In 2017, they visited cemeteries and memorials on a war memorial tour in 4 European countries – France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany – to commemorate the names of this cenotaph. They traveled over 7,000 km during their 6-week journey.
“I kept a diary and recorded our experiences and impressions so that they would not be lost,” said Daria Valkenburg. “Our research project tells the stories of individual soldiers, but when you are in Europe, especially in northern France and Belgium, the impact of war hits you. I was overwhelmed! War cemeteries and memorials were everywhere we turned.
Valkenburg found it to be an emotional journey. “It’s not just soldiers on both sides of wars who are buried in cemeteries. Many civilians also lost their lives and there was so much destruction.
When asked what people would learn from the book, Valkenburg explained that “you will be captivated by the stories of the soldiers we honored at every cemetery and memorial we visited. Additionally, highlights of the challenges and adventures we encountered are included.
Researcher Pieter Valkenburg and writer Daria Valkenburg form a dynamic team. Dutch-born Pieter Valkenburg served in the Dutch Air Force before pursuing a career in the Dutch Foreign Service. He was posted to ten different locations around the world during his diplomatic years. Born in Canada, Daria is a retired accountant, adult education trainer and writer.
For more information on purchasing “No Soldier Buried Abroad Should Ever Be Forgotten”, visit www.nosoldierforgotten.com. Additionally, Valkenburg is available for author readings and speaking engagements. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or by tweet at @researchmemori1.
Valkenburg will be participating in a meeting with authors on May 19 at the North Bay Public Library at 7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium.