Remembrance Day’s 2 minutes of silence started 3 minutes late in Groningen

While the rest of the Netherlands observed two minutes of silence for Remembrance Day at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Groningen poet Myron Hamming was still reciting a poem at the commemoration on Martinikekrhof.  The two minutes of silence started three minutes late in the city because the Martinitoren bells started ringing too late and threw off the rest of the program, RTV Noord reports. 

The bells should’ve started ringing at 7:47 p.m. but only rang a few minutes later. This meant that the speech by King’s Commissioner Rene Paas began later. And that resulted in Hamming reciting his poem while the rest of the Netherlands was silent for two minutes. The tattoo started at around 8:02 p.m., and the commemoration started its two minutes of silence at 8:03 p.m.

At that same time, the rest of the city started moving again. So background noises like scooters and buses disrupted the commemoration’s silent period, those present told RTV Noord. 

According to Niko Beets, chairman of the Groningen 4 May Commemoration Foundation, the problem was caused by them accidentally using an old script. “I fear that we used the scripts from during the corona time. They had, of course, no program of speakers. The bell ringers had that old script,” he said to the regional broadcaster. “I was biting myself when the bells didn’t stop. Then I quickly started thinking about what to do and decided to just finish the program. This is, of course, a small blemish on the memorial. We are going to investigate what exactly went wrong.”

City poet Hamming told RTV Noord that he did not notice anything was wrong when reciting his poem. He regrets the incident but hopes his poem came across well. “It’s such an honor to finally be able to do this. It is very unfortunate that this happened. I am still very proud that I was allowed to recite a poem on this stage.”

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