Monday, December 20, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Door GPD-correspondent Hans de Bruijn
Daarin noemt hij België 'de zieke man van Europa', zijn Walen 'junkies' die verslaafd zijn aan Vlaams geld, krijgen de Waalse socialisten er de schuld van dat er na 183 dagen formeren nog steeds geen regering is, en worden koning Albert II anti-Vlaamse gevoelens toegedicht.
'Onverstandig' is nog de vriendelijkste kwalificatie die de uitlatingen van De Wever ten deel vielen. De politieke instabiliteit ondergraaft de internationale positie van België en de financiële markten zijn na de Griekse en Ierse debacles gevoelig voor termen als 'zieke man'.
,,De Wever speelt met vuur'', zegt de Waalse christendemocratische leidster Joëlle Milquet.
Ook binnenlands maakt hij het er niet makkelijker op. De Waalse partijen reageerden voorspelbaar 'geschokt' op het interview, dat overigens al twee weken geleden afgenomen werd. De socialistische PS zegt niet te zwichten voor 'provocaties' en te willen blijven onderhandelen.
Volgens de Groenen lijkt het alsof De Wever de onderhandelingen wil opblazen. Een krant noemt het in voetbaltermen een aanval 'met beide benen vooruit op Elio Di Rupo', de PS-leider en beoogd premier. Niet dat hij iets nieuws zei, zijn afkeer van de PS is algemeen bekend. Het moment was echter niet slim gekozen. Dat gaf De Wever zelf toe. äMaar men moet wat ik heb gezegd in context zien en zeggen wat er niet aan klopt."
Volgens de N-VA-leider houdt de PS de hervormingen tegen die nodig zijn om België weer financieel gezond te maken. Er wordt al maanden zonder succes gepraat over het overhevelen van bevoegdheden en belastinggeld naar de deelstaten. Maar de Walen, die jaarlijks miljarden uit Vlaanderen krijgen, vrezen zonder die Vlaamse 'solidariteit' te zullen verarmen.
De Franstaligen vinden dat De Wever, de grote winnaar van de verkiezingen van juni, streeft naar splitsing van België. Nu lukt dat nog niet, maar uit een geforceerde nieuwe stembusgang zou de N-VA wel eens nóg sterker tevoorschijn kunnen komen. ,,Als wij in de regering stappen, is het risico groot dat we de volgendeáverkiezingenáverliezen', zegt De Wever.
,,Men heeft op ons gestemd omdat wij radicale veranderingen willen en omdat de kiezer erop vertrouwt dat wij na zes maanden onderhandelen geen concessies doen." Ook de kritiek op koning Albert, met wie vooral de Walen zich verbonden zouden voelen, valt slecht. ,,De koning is niet belangrijk", zegt De Wever.
,,Maar bij een crisis wordt hij belangrijk. Hij voert de regie bij de regeringsvorming. Dat is een nadeel voor de Vlamingen, want hij denkt niet als wij. De Walen voelen zich meer met hem verbonden." Hieruit blijkt volgens de Waalse christendemocraten 'een gebrek aan respect' voor de vorst. © GPD
Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Because of that it seems not at all ordinary to me that the Belgian Foreign Ministry has just announced that Belgium will pay 14 million euros to our former colony of Congo to offset the cost of upcoming elections in the country. The foreign minister called this pay out, "preventative diplomacy". Next year the Congo will have a presidential elections and in the immediate years there will also be parliamentary, provincial and municipal elections that, like all elections everywhere, will naturally cost some money. In fact the total cost is estimated to be some 540 million euros. Given that total, 14 million euros may not seem like much, other countries and European Union will be paying about half the total cost of the Congolese elections, but is this a wise decision by the Belgian government? Considering the dangerous position of the Belgian economy is it affordable or wise to send 14 million euros to the Congo for political contests?
Only recently King Albert II and Queen Paola were in the Congo to participate in their celebrations of the anniversary of independence from Belgium. Does independence not mean anymore that they pay their own costs? This is like the teenager who moves from his parents home but still calls asking for money to pay the bills. In a way this is what King Baudouin warned the Congolese about when he handed over their independence to them. Independence means a country is to carry its own weight and not depend on others. This 14 million euros represents dependence and not independence. I cannot see the wisdom of spending any amount when Belgium is drowning in debt to help a country that for most of these last decades has had a hostile attitude toward Belgium, blaming all problems on their former colonial power but at the same time expecting always help in return.
How about this idea: Belgium can keep the 14 million euros and instead we send the Congo Yves Leterme, even throw in Herman Van Rompuy as a free extra to solve their problems. There are even more I would be generous to give to the Congo instead of the millions of euros.
6/12/10 - Crown Prince Filip and Princess Mathilde attended the opening of the European Development Days in Brussels. For two days over 5,000 experts from a 100 different countries will discuss the challenges and the problems facing international development across the globe.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
In 1892 the Arab slave trade based in Zanzibar was controlled by Sefu, son of Tippu Tip who had long worked for the sultans of Zanzibar providing slaves and ivory out of Central Africa. In 1886 there had been a confrontation between the agents of Tip and officials at a Belgian post on the Congo border when they claimed that a local woman was a slave who had been stolen from an Arab officer. They besieged the post and eventually captured it when the defenders ran out of ammunition and had to abandon their fort. His son Sefu then led attacks into Congo, fearing the growing presence in the area, mostly British and Belgian, who were opposed to their cartel. His force grew to some 10,000 Congolese warriors led by 500 Arab-Swahili captains of Zanzibar. It fell to the Force Publique, the military of the Congo Free State, to stop them but up to that time they were a newly formed force geared toward police and internal security duties.
Outnumbered and unprepared the Force Publique was made to retreat across the unhealthy and inhospitable terrain of the Congo which did more than they were able to in slowing the slaver army of Sefu. To save this situation came the new Belgian commander of the Force Publique, Commandant Francis Dhanis. He won the loyalty of his Congolese soldiers by not breaking up their families, allowing them many privileges and also won over the local populace by restraining his men from harming or harassing the peaceful people of the area. The slaver army, on the contrary, behaved with great savagery toward all they encountered. The turning point came at the epic six-week siege of Nyangwe on the river which was nearly destroyed as the slaver army tried to wipe out the Force Publique garrison. However, the Belgian-led Congolese heroically held off the attackers and prevailed in the end.
Forced to fall back, Dhanis pursued Sefu and his army and taking control of Kasongo which had long been a central hub of the Arab slave-trade network. Finally on 20 October 1893, west of Lake Tanganyika, the Force Publique fought the final battle in which Sefu was killed and his slave army was left without a leader and in small following engagements were totally defeated one at a time. The slave trade network was broken up and by January of 1894 the war was over with the Congo Free State Force Publique victorious and the slavers driven from the region. It was a great achievement for the Congolese soldiers and their Belgian officers (though many were not Belgians but professional hired soldiers from Scandinavian countries). Against a greater number of enemies in wild country with an unhealthy climate they had prevailed with courage to wipe out an ancient evil from central Africa.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Princess Astrid of Belgium, second child of King Albert II and Queen Paola, was born on 5 June 1962 at Laeken and was named after her grandmother the beloved Queen Astrid, consort of King Leopold III. Princess Astrid was educated in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and at the Institute of European Studies in Michigan, Unites States. On 22 September 1984 she was married to Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este at which time she became also Archduchess of Austria-Este. The couple have five children born from 1986 to 2003. She has also stood as godmother to Prince Sebastian of Luxembourg and Prince Gaston of France. From 1994 to 2007 she served as Chairwoman of the Belgian Red Cross, stepping down when the language communities began squabbling because she would not take sides between the French and Dutch speakers. She also serves as a colonel with the medical corps of the Belgian armed forces. Princess Astrid does a great amount of social and charitable work dealing with cancer, epidemics and pandemics and has shown great concern for the disabled and victims of social and political violence and the struggles of women in less fortunate countries.
Prince Laurent of Belgium, youngest child of King Albert II and Queen Paola, was born on 19 October 1963. Educated in Antwerp and Brussels, after finishing school he trained with the armed forces and entered the navy, training on frigates and mine-sweepers. He became an officer in 1985 and specialized as a diver and helicopter pilot. In 1994 he was promoted to commander before going to the United States to study in a number of civilian industries as well as world politics and business. He is greatly interested in the environment and is involved in a number of organizations to promote conservation, clean energy and the protection of wildlife. In 2003 he married Claire Coombs with whom he has three children; a daughter and twin boys. Prince Laurent is loved by some and ridiculed by some for his open and informal style, saying what he thinks and being very opinionated. In 2004 he was promoted to captain in the naval service though he has also had to deal with scandals relating to the use of naval funds. However, unfair attacks on the Family Royal have become so commonplace it is difficult to believe anything that is reported in the media. Since 2000 Prince Laurent has also served as a Senator.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Au préalable, un petit rappel historique s’impose. En 1555, l’empereur Charles-Quint abdique, laissant sa place à son fils Philippe II. Ce dernier nomme Ferdinand Alvare de Tolède, plus connu sous le nom du duc d’Albe, gouverneur des Pays-Bas. Il fait son entrée, en tant que vice-roi, à Bruxelles en 1567 avec le devoir de mener une politique sévère contre les velléités indépendantes et le protestantisme. Il mènera cette répression envers les protestants jusqu’en 1572, appelée aussi Contre-Réforme, celle-ci trouve son origine dans la réaction de l’Eglise catholique romaine face à la Réforme catholique et qui connaîtra des épisodes sanglants comme la décapitation des comtes d'Egmont et de Hornes (même si ils n'étaient pas protestants) sur la Grande-Place de Bruxelles en 1568 ou le célèbre massacre de la Saint-Barthélémy, en France, en 1572. [plus]
Mais c’est en mai 1624 que débarquent plusieurs familles wallonnes ainsi que quelques familles flamandes via le « Nieu Nederland », navire affrété par la CIO au Nouveau Monde, avant de remonter l’Hudson River. L’émigration se poursuit et le 4 mai 1626 le « Sea-Men » jette l’ancre à Manhattan. D’autres vagues d’émigrations auront lieu, comme en 1634, qui verront la venue de Rachel, Isaac et Henri, enfants de Jessé de Forest, venus poursuivre le désir de leur défunt père. [plus]
Le 7 janvier 1924, Alfred E. Smith (1873-1944), gouverneur de New-York émet le souhait de commémorer le tricentenaire de l’arrivée des colons wallons. Dans cette optique, le sénateur William L. Love obtient un budget de 50.000 $, le 5 mai de cette année, quant à la création d’une commission chargée d’organiser un « événement d’une grande signification pour le peuple entier des Etats-Unis ». Ecoles, églises et municipalités se joignent aux réjouissances, une monnaie en argent de 50 cents est mise en circulation et 3 timbres commémoratifs sont émis. [plus]
Thursday, December 2, 2010
When it was over and the Pope lost his political authority he secluded himself inside the walls of the Vatican in protest. Many Catholic powers tried to show the Pope that they still respected his authority even while political circumstances forced them to come to terms with the new Kingdom of Italy. One of these was the court of King Leopold II of the Belgians. The Ladies of the Royal Court raised funds for the design of a very unique and magnificent papal tiara for Pius IX. This was a way many countries showed support for the authority of the pope, by sending him a new crown. The “Ladies of the Royal Court of the King of the Belgians” (then Leopold II) presented the crown to the Pope on June 18, 1871. The crown, often known as the “Belgian Tiara” was not like any other. It was designed by Jean-Baptiste Bethune of Ghent with a unique shape for the three jewel-encrusted crowns and the tiers decorated with the words, “CHRISTI VICARIO - IN TERRA - REGUM”.
Doing a little research I could not find agreement on what the three crowns are to symbolize since some said it was for the church on earth, in heaven and in purgatory and others that it stands for the three missions of Christians or the rule of God and others that one crown stood for papal rule of Rome, the second for rule over civil authorities and a third for rule over all monarchs. So it seems really no one knows. It is also not known if Pope Pius IX ever wore his Belgian tiara but it seems likely that he did not since he was old by that time and preferred to wear crowns that were as light as possible and the very elaborate and highly decorated Belgian tiara was quite heavy. That does not really matter though since it was a gift that did not need to be worn but was only to express the loyalty of the King, court and kingdom of Belgium for the sovereignty of the Pope, that they all remained loyal Catholics to him. From photographs it does not appear that any other popes wore the Belgian tiara either but kept it as a prized work of art and sentimental symbol. I am a little disappointed that the Popes decided to stop having a crown, the last one to wear his crown was Pope Paul VI in June of 1963.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
At first the Verdinaso were a variety of pan-Dutch party specific to Flanders. They wanted Flemish and Dutch nationalism, not Belgian and called, like the similar parties in Nederlands, for Flanders, Nederlands and Luxembourg to come together in a Dietsland or Diets Rijk (Dutch Reich or Dutch Empire) that was much like the “Greater Netherlands” idea proposed by the Dutch Nazi party. As historical justification for this they looked back to the Duchy of Burgundy (which almost became a kingdom). Their symbol combined insignia of work and war and industry. In the early days they had some political success. In 1932 Francois and Van Severen were elected to the Chamber of Deputies. They also became more associated with the German National Socialists at that time when Victor Leemans joined the party and wrote a book defending Nazism called Het nationaal-socialisme. This was an isolated political success though since they did not participate in elections because they were totally opposed to democracy and the existing constitutional arrangement.
This opposition never changed by the still changed quite radically from their original platform. In 1934 Verdinaso dropped the pan-Dutch position and became a specifically Belgian nationalist party. This was a process over several years and also during that time, 1937, keeping in the fashion of the Brown shirts of Germany and the Black shirts of Italy the Verdinaso organized a paramilitary group of their own called DINASO Militanten Orde that wore green shirts. By 1939 they were a French and Dutch bilingual party and were advocated a corporatist society overseen directly by the King of the Belgians. They took their ideas from the corporatist model advocated at that time by many in the Catholic Church as well as the Integralism of Action Francaise which influenced Van Severen in particular. They became very opposed to liberalism and communism. They opposed the Freemasons as dangerous to society and, some trying to be like the Nazis, made anti-Semitic statements at times though they were never as extreme as the Germans. The opposition to Jews was there but it was not seen as very central or important as in Germany.
They were associated with the Vlaams Nationaal Block since 1936 and in the elections that year earned 16 deputy seats and in 1939 won 17 seats which was the most they ever received. At their height the green shirts had 3,000 members under Francois and they published two newspapers. They were devastated by the outbreak of the Second World War. Van Severen was killed in France as part of a series of executions of anyone suspected of having Nazi or communist sympathies (Hitler and Stalin were allies in the beginning) and many Belgian communists and Rexists were executed also. Francois took over leadership but the party was obviously in a confused state. Some welcomed the invasion of Nazi Germany, others opposed it and wanted King Leopold III to take control in this situation in an authoritarian system. Some of them joined the underground resistance when Belgium was occupied by the Germans, others joined the VNV and collaborated with them. No matter which side they chose the Verdinaso was finished.
Friday, November 26, 2010
The proposals from the former Deputy Premier say that fiscal autonomy for the regions will gradually come into effect over a time of ten years and at the end the regions would have control of half of all income tax generated money. It is also proposed a progressive income tax so that the more one earns the more one has to pay. Again, seeing this play out in other areas makes me skeptical since the argument is that this discourages people to expand and succeed which could cause a stagnant economy. Also some environmental concerns are addressed by a proposal that regions which can cut down CO2 emissions and employ more people will get more money back from the government and those regions that do not do this will have financial sanctions as a penalty for failure. This part has caused some upset voices from the Francophone socialists of PS because they do not think Wallonia will compete very well like this and will be punished for it. My opinion then is maybe try someone else besides the socialists and stop the policies that have so much damaged the Wallonie economy.
Naturally almost everyone has some problems with the proposals and are suggesting changes, that is not to be a surprise. They have the greatest talent in the world for finding ways to disagree. Also there are proposals for legal changes that would make the regions responsible for taking care of the law courts, punishing young criminals and working on the big stack of court cases waiting and waiting to be heard. For healthcare 3 billion euros will go to the devolved authorities for child care, handicapped care and old age care. Regional governments also will get more power to deal with unemployment benefits and power to sanction people who have been unemployed so long they don't seem to want a job. Areas for instance animal welfare, traffic, disaster aid funds, tenancy laws and film controls also are proposed to go to the regions. What is left for national government? Who cares since EU will probably handle that anyway.
Is this a good direction? I don't know! Maybe it will help everyone stop fighting, arguing all the time but it also seems to make the national government less and less important so we are sort of less a country than two and that I don't like. Of course we are perhaps not supposed to understand it. Politicians have great talent in making simple matters extremely complicated.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The first on service was the Korea Volunteer Corps (Corps Volontaires Corea) which consisted of 900 infantry soldiers. The First Belgium Battalion (1 Bataillon Belge) arrived in December of 1950. For the first wave of recruits there was extensive training to be done to prepare for service on the Korean peninsula but after time the Belgian United Nations Command (BUNC), which also included a platoon of volunteers from the neighbor Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, sailed from Antwerp on the ship KAMINA and arrived at Pusan, South Korea on 31 January 1951. The First Belgium Battalion was attached to the Third Infantry Division of the United States and was later replaced by the Second Belgium Battalion in August of 1951. The Second Belgium Battalion remained in Korea until June of 1955. This included also the forty-four men of the Luxembourg volunteers who served alongside the Belgian battalions throughout the duration of the war.
There had to be further training after arriving in Korea and the Belgians first gained their knowledge of Korean warfare by carrying out patrols against communist guerillas in the area of Waegwan. It was after that that the BUNC was put in the line of battle with the U.S. Third Division close to Seoul along the Han River on 7 March 1951. Only the following month the Belgian forces saw serious combat operations when they received their first battle honors for the engagement along the Imjin River. In August the first battalion was relieved by the second who came by ship and by airplane to keep the Belgian military presence up to strength and maintain the national commitment to the UN “police action”.
Some countries involved in the Korean War could not contribute much and had token forces that saw duty mostly behind the lines, out of danger and with little impact on the war, but certainly very crucial to the overall military operation, however, this was not true of the Belgian contingent which had many combat experiences and earned numerous battle honors in Korea. The BUNC had fought at the battles Haktang-Ni in October 1951, Chatkol in April 1953 and by the time of the armistice cease-fire the BUNC was reduced by combat and attrition to only about 200 men on 30 December 1954 and the last Belgian soldiers left Korea on 15 June of 1955. During their service the BUNC earned four Belgian citations recognized by the Order of Leopold I on the battalion flag, the United States Presidential Unit Citation and two Korean Presidential Unit Citations along with numerous individual decorations, medals and citations for the valiant soldiers. Luxembourg also decorated the unit for their service.
For more information click on to Belgian Volunteer Corps - Korea
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Of those detained in the police raids in Brussels against terrorist suspects only two out of fifteen have been kept in detention. This operation has focused on a network of Islamists in Belgium trying to raise money and recruit killers for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Belgian authorities have asked for the extradition of three suspects currently being held in Amsterdam, Netherlands and it is now up to the Dutch courts to cooperate on that issue. However, the Head of the Threat Analysis Centre has come out now, very vocal, to assure everyone that this recent round of arrests is an anti-terrorist operation not directed against the Islamic religion. Does he suppose we will all believe that the fact that all of these terrorists are Muslims has absolutely nothing to do with their actions? He also denied the critics that the police raids were made too quickly and without proper evidence. Where do you suppose these criticisms were coming from? And what would be “proper evidence”? Do they think the police should wait for a national monument to be blown to bits or maybe a crowd of people to be murdered before they take action?
Head of the Threat Analysis Centre André Vandoren said, “I think we should await the results of the investigation, but I wouldn’t want people to think that this was an operation that was initiated with undue haste. There is one matter that I want to make very clear: This is not an anti-Islam operation. Not at all. We should appreciate that radicals often only make up a small minority within certain groups”. Give me a break! This is the soft attitude of denial of reality that is putting the lives of all Belgians and all Europeans in danger. Face the facts Vandoren! No one is being fooled anymore. All of these terrorists are not Christians or Jews or Buddhists -they are Muslims. We all know that, we know what it is all about and to continue to deny the problem will only make things worse. Also, for the charge that these arrests were done too hastily, that is just stupid. All of these arrests have been part of investigations that have been going on for years. There has been nothing hasty about it.
En juin 1944, les Allemands déportent la famille royale belge dans la forteresse d'Hirschtein, puis en Autriche où ils seront libérés par les Alliés. Les Chambres réunies nomment le prince Charles régent du royaume. Suite à la Question Royale, Léopold III, Lilian et leurs enfants vivent en exil en Suisse de 1945 à 1950. Alexandre gardait un excellent souvenir de cette période où il a connu une vie de famille heureuse à la villa "Le Reposoir" à Prégny, face au lac Léman, loin du protocole de la Cour. Ils rentrent en Belgique durant l'été 1950.
De 1950 à 1960, le prince vit avec ses parents dans le domaine de Laeken et participe régulièrement à des activités publiques. Les photos de cette décennie montrent l'amour et la complicité qui régnaient au sein de cette "famille recomposée", un terme peu utilisé à cette époque. Alexandre était très proche de ses demi-frères Baudouin et Albert. Le 10 juin 1954, il fait sa communion solennelle et sa confirmation avec le cardinal Van Roey. Il poursuit ses études à Laeken dans la section latin-grec avec quelques condisciples triés sur le volet. En 1957, le prince est opéré à Boston (Etats-Unis) d'une coarctation de l'aorte par le professeur Grooz, ce qui incite sa mère à créer la Fondation Cardiologique Princesse Lilian. Plus......
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Ter gelegenheid van de verjaardag brengt de Nederlandse Taalunie voor de allereerste keer alle landen bijeen waar het Nederlands een rol speelt. Beleidsmakers uit deze landen gaan op zoek naar samenwerking om de positie van het Nederlands in de wereld te verstevigen.
In dat proces speelt de jeugd een belangrijke rol. Daarom nodigde de Taalunie vooral jeugdige creatieve taalgebruikers uit. Het thema van het feest is: Nederlands, wereldtaal! Aan prinses Mathilde de taak de nieuwe website 'De Wereld van de Nederlandse Taal' te openen.
De Vlaamse krant Het Nieuwsblad uitte verbazing over de uitnodiging van Mathilde. 'Een Franstalige die het Nederlands moet verdedigen, is dat niet vreemd?' vroeg Het Nieuwsblad aan de Taalunie. ,,Nee", aldus Luddo Permentier van de Nederlandse Taalunie. ,,Haar Nederlands is meer dan behoorlijk en bovendien wilden we de klemtoon leggen op buitenlanders die Nederlands willen leren. In dat opzicht is ze een uitstekend voorbeeld."
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Today the Majesties King Albert II and Queen Paola welcomed many royals such as Queen Silvia of Sweden, Britain's Duchess of Gloucester, the Duchess of Palma de Majorca, Infanta Christina of Spain and our Princess Mathilde, Duchess of Brabant, Princess Astrid and Princess Claire of Belgium to the conference on 'Vulnerable unaccompanied minors'.
In history today also marks the anniversary (105!) of the lovely late Queen Astrid, sadly Queen of Belgians for too short a time. The Cross of Laeken points to this occasion.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Second Row: King Victor Emanuel III of Italy, King Petar of Serbia, Prince Nicholas of Montenegro and King Ferdinand of Romania
Thursday, November 11, 2010
General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing of the A.E.F. meeting S.M. King Albert I
The United States of America and the Kingdom of Belgium ready to fight side by side
Yesterday I talked about the great Belgian war hero Baron Jules Jacques. After the war he became the commander of the Belgian army and in 1921 he visited the United States and was honored to attend the convention of the American Legion in Kansas City as well as the famous Arlington National Cemetery where he movingly placed his own Croix de Guerre on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Baron Jacques had commanded the first troops to stand against the Germans and he was key in leading the counter-offensive at the end of the war to liberate his country. He was also very clear about Belgian-American friendship and support during the war. In 1919 he said to the United Press International:
"When America came to the war, just the mere knowledge of it had an enormous effect on Belgium. Belgium gave a great sigh of relief. Our spirits rose by bounds, while the Germans' began to drop. When American soldiers entered the Belgian line to join in the conflict, words cannot express our feelings. We knew the end was near and that the outcome of the war had practically been determined."
Happy Veterans Day to all the American Friends and salute to the military heroes of the United States and Belgium and all the Allied powers!