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King Harald unveils the new National Veterans Monument

Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central

Last Friday, King Harald of Norway unveiled the new National Veterans Monument and lit the “eternal flame” at Akershus Fortress in Oslo. The Crown Prince, Haakon, was also present at the ceremony. The King and Crown Prince were received by President of the Parliament (Storting)Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen, Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Chief of Defence Eirik Kristoffersen on arrival. Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide and Minister of Defence Frank Bakke Jensen were also present at the unveiling.

The monument was erected to honour personnel who have served Norway in international operations or participated in other international services in hazardous areas after the Second World War. In 2019, the Norwegian government decided to erect a national monument at Akershus Fortress to honour personnel who have participated in international operations on behalf of Norway.

The monument consists of a stone structure where the verse line “also we when required” from the Norwegian national anthem is engraved, a bronze plaque with the names of those who have lost their lives in international operations and the “eternal flame” shaped like a torch on top of the bronze plaque.

After the unveiling, a medal ceremony was held. King Harald handed out the War Cross with a sword to Major Knut Andreas Flydal, who received the medal for excelling in a particularly outstanding way by leading in battle during an incident in Syria in 2017 in the international coalition against ISIS. Flydal’s bravery and leadership were decisive for the good way he and the department solved the assignment and the incident, the justification further states.

The veteran monument is located at the southern end of Akershus Fortress and also consists of a 100 metre-long natural stone bench shaped out of Norway’s national rock larvikite. The bench surrounds a tree that has been a part of the square since the 1990s. The sheltered space under the trees is now a place of recognition and reflection.

On the inside of the natural stone bench is the engraved name of all international operations to which Norway has contributed since 1945. The operations are located in relation to the directions of the skype: orations in Africa on the south side, operations in Europe on the north side, operations in the Middle East and Asia on the east side and operations in America on the west side of the grove. Thus, the bench will symbolise the extent and scope of Norway’s contribution to international operations throughout the world.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.