Belgians, Americans celebrate 65th anniversary of landmark WWII victory
November 30, 2009
CHIAfE+VRES, Belgium - Sixty-five years after World War II's landmark Battle of the Bulge, U.S. and Belgian troops will again march side-by-side in Bastogne Dec. 12-13.
Veterans and service members from both nations are scheduled to join thousands of well-wishers, including town officials, dignitaries and local citizens, in commemorating the Allied forces' victory during the famous World War II battle.
"The traditional carnival-like atmosphere in Bastogne over the weekend celebrates the historic grit and determination of our two nations' veterans 65 years ago, and the solemn ceremony at the Mardasson Memorial overlooking the city honors the great sacrifices our countrymen have made," said U.S. Army Garrison Benelux commander Col. James P. Drago. "The spirit of which our Benelux community shares with the citizens of Bastogne demonstrates the undying bond between our Allied nations."
The Battle of the Bulge, which lasted from Dec. 16, 1944, to Jan. 25, 1945, was the largest land battle involving American forces of World War II. More than a million Allied troops fought in the battle across the Ardennes, including approximately 500,000 Americans and 55,000 British. More than 19,000 American troops were killed in action.
The schedule of events is as follows:
32nd Historical Walk, with marches of 8, 12, 16 or 23 kilometers starting in Bastogne.
Parade through Bastogne with commemorative ceremony including a wreath laying at Gen. Patton's Monument and McAuliffe Square. The event will feature U.S. and Belgian World War II veterans.
Traditional "Walnut Festival" with throwing of walnuts from the balcony of the Town Hall into the crowd by the mayor of Bastogne and dignitaries.
Sound & Light historical re-enactment show at Vaux sur SAf"re, Belgium, approximately 15 kilometers from Bastogne.
Historical re-enactment show at Bastogne.
Memorial ceremony at the nearby Mardasson Memorial honoring the memory of more than 75,000 U.S. Soldiers killed or wounded during the Battle of the Bulge.
Paratrooper drop at the Mardasson Memorial
Military vintage vehicle convoy through Bastogne.