Fort Rucker international community celebrates Queen's Day
Lt. Col. Philip Whittle, of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, shares the history of Queen's Day, and thanks everyone who came to celebrate with the rest of the RNLAF and the Dutch community in the Wiregrass area April 30.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The various international communities of Fort Rucker joined together in celebration April 30 at the Dale County Council of Arts and Humanities in Ozark to celebrate "Queen's Day," the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

Lt. Col. Philip Whittle of the Royal Netherlands Air Force said he felt a sense of pride not only because the Dutch citizens were present, but also because other people from several different nations came out as well.

"It's important to share cultures and ideas whenever possible," Whittle said. "To see so many people from places like the U.S., Germany, Italy, Australia, Korea and Canada celebrating with us is just wonderful."

Lt. Col. Kwangho Kim, Korean Army Liaison Officer, was also impressed with the celebration.

"This is my first time celebrating (the Queen's birthday)," he said. "This is a great chance to learn from the Dutch and many of the other cultures here, too."

Other Soldiers who attended Friday's festivities also commented on the idea of many cultures cobserving the event together.

CW4 Jeff Starritt had attended one other Queen's Day celebration before and felt this one was just as memorable as the last.

"It's fantastic to see how many people are involved," he said. "The best part of something like this is the camaraderie that happens between the different groups. We're all here for the same reason and it's great to be able to celebrate with so many different people."

While Queen's Day is celebrated on April 30, according to Whittle, it's not actually the queen's birthday.

"It's actually in memory of her mother," Whittle said. "Her actual birthday is in January but the weather in January is notoriously cold so a celebration in the spring made more sense."

As the crowd swelled to nearly 200, Whittle addressed participants by explaining the reason for the holiday and giving thanks to all of those who came out to share in the festivities.

"This was the time when the Dutch people united under the House of Orange and declared their independence," he said. "To see so many people wishing us well and celebrating with us is an honor."

Page last updated Fri May 7th, 2010 at 11:10