The national holiday did not go unnoticed in Zwalm either with a mass in the St. Matthew’s Church, presided over by EH De Cremer.
Subsequently, a flower arrangement was placed on the memorial stone by the municipal government together with NSB.-Zwalm. The Zwalmfanfare provided musical support by playing the Belgian national anthem, the Brabançonne.
Due to the bad weather, Mayor Bruno Tuybens gave an occasional speech in the town hall and a reception was offered.
Speech Mayor Bruno Tuybens: “Today we celebrate our national holiday. Today it is already 191 years ago that Leopold I was the first King of the Belgians to take the constitutional oath, thus declaring this day our national holiday.
On this holiday, we traditionally pay tribute to our Head of State and the women and men who put their best foot forward every day for the safety of our compatriots. But today we are surrounded by various flag bearers and members of the association of the veterans, who also like and rightly take advantage of the national holiday to commemorate the war heroes. Of course I include in this tribute all those who in the past in any way have risked their own freedom and health to protect the freedom and independence of our country and its people. We will also do that on November 11, so that in this speech I mainly want to put the ‘heroes’ of today under the spotlight.
The heroes of today are, as far as I’m concerned, all people who are in care, and who have been in recent years. The doctors and emergency physicians, the specialized and less specialized nursing staff. Also at a local level, the various vaccination centers have performed exceptionally well. And I also wish to mention the scientists here very explicitly. I have experienced them as a great wealth. It was also no easy task in our country to tackle a completely unknown pandemic for the more than 11.6 million residents in our country, while also controlling the virus of deliberately organized disinformation. For all these people ‘gear’ was the message, and we can be really proud of their achievements.
The heroes of today, as far as I’m concerned, are all people who volunteer for our fellow human beings.
- Many hundreds of them, also from Zwalm, have been helping, and/or are still helping, the victims of the devastating floods in Liège and Limburg in the past 12 months.
- Many hundreds of people, also from Zwalm, have committed themselves to the vaccination centers.
- This summer, many hundreds of volunteers, also from Zwalm, are making children’s dreams come true.
- Many thousands of people, also from Zwalm, are committed to the harmful effects of global warming and rightly call for more sustainable living, because nature no longer shows mercy after the way in which we destroy it step by step. The flood devastation, a little more than a year ago, fortunately spared our region, but defying that luck could well turn out to be seriously disappointing.
- Many thousands of people, also from Zwalm, volunteer every day in social organizations in order to give help and hope to many, who are having a hard time, every day. In that context, I would also like to pay tribute to Welzijns Schakel Zwalm, who has made great efforts in recent months for the material and psychological support of the more vulnerable families in our own municipality. We are also noticing the effects of the invasion of Ukraine in our country, via the sharp increase in energy prices. We do not sufficiently realize the great happiness that we as Belgians enjoy in the automatic indexation of pensions and benefits, and very often also of wages, in such a way that a significant part of these price increases are compensated, and this in contrast to most countries, also around us. But we must remain highly vigilant about the effects of these sharp price increases on the well-being of each of us.
One common thread through all this is: where we work together with care for everyone, we make progress. Where one feels better and more important than the other, that progress is not noticeable, not structural and without a chance.
So let’s continue on the road of cooperation. That makes 21 July a celebration of our society. Of our collaborative society.
Have fun today!”