By USAG Benelux Public AffairsAugust 30, 2019
CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- In the days leading up to Sept. 2, 1944, Germans, posted in Belgium and across the French border, were getting nervous as the Allied forces were approaching. The Allies liberated northern France and prepared to liberate Belgium. Cendron, Belgium, was one of the first villages to be liberated by American forces who landed on Normandy's beaches a few months earlier.
Seventy five years later, people from Cendron and Monceau-Imbrechies, Belgium, where the first 12 American infantrymen died on Belgian soil during the liberation, still commemorate this important event in history.
On Sept. 1 starting at 8 a.m., a ceremony will be held in Saint-Remy to honor American airmen who were killed on April 22, 1944.
Another ceremony will occur at 9:30 a.m. in Macquenoise, Belgium, to honor the pilot and the crew of the B-17 bomber, named "Susan Ruth," that was shot down over the French-Belgian border on Feb. 8, 1944. Later, a mass will be held in Cendron at 11 a.m.
On Sept. 2, another commemoration will begin at 9:15 a.m. at the monument in Monceau-Imbrechies, where 12 white headstones bear the names of the first 12 American Soldiers who were killed on Belgian soil on Sept. 2, 1944.
A second ceremony will start at 11:30 a.m. at the monument in Cendron, near the Belgian-French border, marking the spot where the U.S. 9th Infantry Division entered Belgium on Sept. 2, 1944.
Chimay is not only Belgian city to commemorate its liberation during the first weekend of September. The Belgian village of Rumes will also honor an important event in its history.
On Sept. 2, 1944, a 2nd Armored Division pathfinder crossed the border on his motorbike using the little bridge (known today as the "Liberation Bridge") spanning the Elon River. Since he did not receive the order to cross the border, he turned back when he realized he was in Belgium. He then returned a few moments later, around 9:30 a.m., accompanied by a military convoy coming to liberate Rumes.
On Sept. 2 starting at 6 p.m., Rumes will honor its liberators at the Liberation Bridge. At 6:30 p.m., the ceremony will continue at the Liberation Memorial where there is a statue representing the pathfinder who crossed the bridge, and then at the Secret Army's Plaque where children will honor the Belgian Resistance. The day before, on Sept. 1, there will be an exhibition, a Liberation Ball, and a special sound and light show.