Again speaking for myself, Nijmegen 2011 was also a week of getting to know better some of the people that I may have been acquainted with for years in the camp, but only peripherally. Plus, of course, there is the ever joyful feeling of hanging out with the friends, from Denmark and elsewhere, whom you have made already in Camp Heumensoord through a decade of marching. Laughing and toasting with friends also make you think of the ones who are not there.
And at the going down of the sun and in the morning ...
... We will remember them.
So goes the final lines of the famous WWI poem "Ode of Remembrance"
by Laurence Binyon. A vivid moment for all Danes present in the Beer Tent on Thursday 21 July in the afternoon will be the tribute to fallen Lance Corporal Jørgen Randrup. Randrup stood no chance of survival when he was blasted by an explosive device in Afghanistan on 14 November 2010. The Lance Corporal hailed from The Royal Life Guards, and his colleagues from his regular marching team entered the tent clad in T-shirts with a motif honouring him and to the sound of his favourite tune
in the loudspeakers.
Left: Lance Corporal Jørgen Randrup, The Royal Life Guards, Denmark.
Let me underscore that I did not now Jørgen Randrup well; but I imagine I would have after some more years in Nijmegen, just like with the people I got around to talk to this summer. I certainly know who he was, because he was charismatic, tall as a tower, and with the stamina to party to the very morning and then let his long legs bear him through another day of festivity along the route. You noticed him, a picture of how you do military road marching best, in my opinion: spreading good karma, being tough enough to party hard and still walk 40 kilometres a day with a bergen like there is nothing to it.
So it was with a lump in my throat I saw all the flags from the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish teams lined up on one side and being lowered when the late soldier's mates marched in with uncharacteristically solemn faces. Looking around me, I could see his friends, many of whom are my friends, clearly affected. The glossy eyes could not but touch me as well: a considerable number of us have been in Afghanistan, and the feeling of comradeship and a shared loss was strong. None the least for those of us also from The Life Guards. Hugs and a few words were exchanged all around afterwards. It was, all in all, a beautiful tribute, done just the right way. Life goes on, but we do, indeed, remember him and all the others, and we toast them when the first glass of port is lifted at any march.