Thursday, November 8, 2012

battle of the bulge.

It goes without saying that one of the great benefits of living in Germany is the vast amounts of WWII history nearby.  The closest city to us, Kaiserslautern, was heavily bombed in 1944---nearly 60% of the city was destroyed.  In fact, just a few months ago, engineers found an un-defused bomb downtown while doing construction and 3,000 people had to be evacuated.

I recently had the unique opportunity to do a day trip to Bastogne, Belgium (and the surrounding areas) with a group from work.  One of the attorneys here is a WWII history buff and acted as our guide.  We followed the route of a German advance through Marnach, Clervaux, Longvilly, Margeret, Neffe, and Bastogne.  Actually seeing the sights was a fantastic way to learn of the stiff US resistance along the way that ultimately turned the tide of the Battle of the Bulge.  We were also able to see the 101st AB command post in Bastogne where Gen McAuliffe famously made his one-word reply to the German's call for surrender: "Nuts!" We also had the privilege to meet a veteran that was back in Europe for the first time since the war---a NGO from Belguim paid his way to come over for a tour of the command post and other sights.

I'm a huge Band of Brothers fan, so it was a solemn experience to be able to see the foxholes where Easy Company spent their winter of 1944/45 (and ultimately made their way into Foy).
One of 23 sherman tanks that helped defend the castle in Clervaux, Luxembourg
 Battle of the Bulge Memorial (Bastogne, Belguim)
We are constantly reminded of the sacrafices of the brave men and women who died in WWII for the betterment of the human race.  This is the grave of the nurse from the Band of Brothers epidode "Bastogne."  She was killed in a German bomb raid on Christmas Eve.  While she was non-fictional, her aid station didn't serve the 101st Airborne.
Gen McAuliffe's office 
 The Ardennes forest where Easy Company (from Band of Brothers) fought.  The foxholes are still recognizable.  

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