Bonjour! Greetings from Luxembourg!! We’ve had a very good day in Bastogne, Belgium visiting the sites there and have now checked into our hotel in Luxembourg City.
This morning was really cold. It was 36 degrees and very, very foggy when we left our hotel at about 8:45 am. However, as been the case on most days, it really warmed up in the afternoon to a very comfortable 65 sunny degrees.
Today was our day to visit the sites in one of the most famous cities in all of World War II -Bastogne. It was here that one of the key battles of the war occurred during what is called the “Battle of the Bulge.”
Here is what we visited today: (1) The McAuliffe Memorial; (2) Patton’s Memorial; (3) the Bastogne War Museum; (4) the Mardasson Belgium-American Memorial; (5) the 101 Airborne Division Memorial; (6) the Bastogne Barracks – where the 101st had it’s division headquarters during the battle; and, (7) the Eglise-St. Pierre cathedral.
Two things really stand out from today’s visits. The first one is the Bastogne War Museum. This was one of the finest museums that I’ve ever seen anywhere. Its exhibit was laid out in a way that described World War II, and the Battle of the Bulge, from its beginnings to the ultimate surrender of Germany in 1945, and it does so from the eyes of four people (an American soldier, a German soldier, a Belgium woman who was a school teacher, and a young boy who lived in Bastogne). Each person that went through the museum was issued a radio and earphones that would play comments from these four people as you walked through the museum and viewed the displays. It was really great!
The second thing that stood out for me today was our visit to the Bastogne Barracks. It is there that they have a museum that depicts what the 101st Airborne Division headquarters might have looked like when it was set up here in December of 1944. Today, the Bastogne Barracks complex is home to the 1st Field Artillery Regiment of the Belgium army. Our tour guide was a staff sergeant in the unit. At one time they had M109a2 howitzers but I believe that they either have been or will be reorganized and may no longer be a field artillery unit. The exhibit that they had was very nice and the sergeant did an excellent job in talking about each display they had in the museum and giving us the history of the 101st’s fight in Bastogne. What really struck me though, was that the buildings, barracks, maintenance buildings, etc., are virtually falling down. They are in terrible shape. I think that it is just an example of how poorly trained and equipped NATO units are and how their politicians are making the same mistakes as they did in the 1930’s when they were totally unprepared to face the German army. The best and “only” way to prevent war, is to be prepared for it. Because of their “naive” belief that the first world war was “the war to end all wars” they were unwilling to keep their military forces at high readiness levels. Their mistakes and miscalculations resulted in the deaths of over 60 million people! Very sad!
Well, that’s our report for today. Tomorrow, we will be visiting the American Cemetery here in Luxembourg. Enroute we will visit the Ardennes American Cemetery and then head for Brussels, Belgium where we will spend the night.
More to follow tomorrow. Below, I’ve posted a few pictures for you. Blessings!
General McAuliffe Memorial – located in the center of the city.
A memorial to General George Patton
The entrance to the Bastogne War Museum
The Mardasson Belgium-American Memorial
One of the displays from the Bastogne War Museum
Sign at the Bastogne Barracks
Our tour guide at the Bastogne Barracks
The Cathedral in Bastogne. It was heavily damaged in the battle but has been completely restored. One of the stain glass windows has an American flag.
The ceiling in the Elise-St. Pierre’s cathedral.