A Duty to Memory: Bastogne Remembers the Battle of the Bulge

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Joseph F. Desmond was on the french-german border during this time. He was in france near the german border when this event happened. He heard about the capture of aachen in early along with several border towns that were captured as well. My dad did have a cousin who was attached to Pattons 3rd army in the Transportation Corp. My Dad passed away at age 89 in I was also fortunate that my dad came home from the European War. Thomas M. Desmond, Son. He flew over German lines at night to deliver penicillin to the surrounded soldiers of the 1O1st Airborne Division at Bastogne.

Schley had to make his landing between two rows of flashlights held by members of the st. He was awarded a Silver Star for his Bravery. Kenneth B.

Schley Jr. Thanks for keeping the Ardennes battles in memory especially the British contribution. That was the furtherest point of the German advance. My father, Steven, st Airborne, was hit by shrapnel there on Christmas Day while smoking a cigarette in a foxhole. Said it was the best Christmas present he ever got.

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He was in the hospital in London for three months and suffered from frostbite. Great war letters on Christmas day. A real find! My father fought in an unheralded battle central to the Battle of the Bulge. The Battle of Selestat which is on the web. Heinrich Himmler was commanding the Colmar Pocket in Alsace. If the 36th division had been overrun….. The Americans were totally surrounded the entire division.

At Selestat a batallion stood off elements of 4 regiments and 12 Nashorns of the th Panzer Brigade. So try to remember Colmar Pocket because the troops do. Dad was a 19 year old rifleman hit by German mortars December 17, I still mail Christmas cards every year, and I always write a personal message rather than just signing my name.

But, given all the woes I hear from people during the Christmas season, my plan is to take selected clippings from this website and enclose them with my cards. I am a retired Infantry Airborne Ranger with the privilege of both an enlisted and commissioned service, that included assignments to both Ranger Battalions in my tenure.

Although I never had to endure the elements as did these men, I have experienced enough hypothermia to possess a great frame of reference. These men and those of our history remain my American heroes, about whom I think after my concentration on my Lord. Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.

Learn how your comment data is processed. The weather now cleared, enabling the Allied fighter bombers to join the Ardennes battlefield. Anti-aircraft gunners watching the aerial battle, December 25, However, we can substantiate his presence between the English Channel and the Rhine River during the war in two places: Terville, a small French town north of Metz, on Christmas Day, and 3 days later, in Uberhern, Germany. Our evidence consists of only two photographs of him during the war itself, from his war scrapbook.

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  4. We also visited Cherbourg, the deep-water port that General Eisenhower intended to capture quickly by adding Utah Beach to the D-Day invasion. It was here that we believe Private Allen Schwartz first landed on the continent on November 2, He never told us this, but the Tank Battalion landed here in September and his discharge papers indicate his tour of Europe began on that day in November. His presence intangible, was it filled with fear and in anticipation of the terror awaiting him? Along the way we stopped for the night in Reims to visit the room where World War II Europe ended and surrender papers signed.

    In Metz we found a lively, industrialized city, our experience and connection to our father increasingly more visceral. Was our father, Private Schwartz, here or near here? From the very few stories he told us about the war, he had mentioned being in a reconnaissance unit clearing the way for the tanks of the th. He had been in this city, clearing routes and bridges, fighting for his life and the liberation of Europe. Now, on this bridge, we found ourselves closer to his experience decades earlier.

    The Night Before Christmas, Bastogne 1944

    Terville, France. Because the day was over, we drove to Luxembourg City for two nights to explore and experience the ground of the Battle of the Bulge. Our father wrote that he fought in Luxembourg and Belgium in December and January He used to say he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, exactly where and with whom, we do not know. The next day we returned to Terville for a meeting at City Hall, where city officials looked at the photo and whisked us into their vehicle to take us to the Ecole Primare le Moulin.

    They knew instantly which school was the site of the Christmas Day photo. He told us that the school courtyard was filled with American military trucks, and that this basement was where people came when bombs dropped on Terville. Then, what happened next was truly remarkable. Inspired to learn more, Mr. Leleux made several phone calls and was able to locate a woman who was alive during the war, and she happened to live just two doors down!

    We entered Ms. She sat on her bed having recently broken her leg. Zullo looked at our photo, and without hesitation, immediately identified the French civilians as members of the Aime family. She was 17 in , learned to dance from American GIs, told us about how American soldiers first came to Terville, had to leave as the Germans pushed back in, and eventually returned to stay. American soldiers gave the local children candy and gum, she said, and she told of their setting up food lines to feed the local people.

    She also confirmed that when bombs were dropping, everyone in Terville went to this one school, now the Ecole Primare le Moulin. She did not recognize our father, but remembered Christmas Day in , the lack of food and the miraculous appearance of a turkey in their yard that they captured and ate. After our visit with Ms. Zullo and our identification of the Aime family in the photo, Mr. Leleux was able to locate and get the youngest daughter of that family on the telephone: Ms.

    Bernadette Aime, a resident of nearby Thionville. Although she herself was not in the Christmas Day photo, connecting with her brought new life and curiosity into the story behind this photo. Leleux worked on setting up a meeting with the Aime family, crossed into Germany and stopped where our father did, in Urberherrn, long enough to pose for a photo much like he did with the chaplain he was assisting. We drove further on, our goal to reach the Rhine and found our home for the night where General Patton and his men first crossed it, at Oppenheim.

    We put our feet in the water of the last major barrier to the heart of Germany, watched barges and kayaks float by, imagining American soldiers, and perhaps our father, crossing here.


    Battle of the Bulge Archives | The National WWII Museum Blog

    That night Mr. Leleux emailed us to confirm that he had arranged a meeting the very next day back in Terville with Ms. Bernadette Aime, and her granddaughter who spoke English, to look at our Christmas Day photo.

    Leleux greeted us then took us down into the basement and its most finished room, the room where he and others identified the door in the corner of the Christmas Day photo. He put us in front of the very wall that our father stood during the war.

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    This was not just an event or even a strange reunion. It was a commemorative ceremony. The regional press from Thionville arrived, as well as Ms. Frederique Munerol, the Communications Director for the City of Terville, who presented each of us with a handmade ceramic bowl on behalf of the Mayor of Terville. Finally, Ms. Bernadette Merz, formerly Bernadette Aime, and her granddaughter Karin, arrived.

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    Mr Leleux formally introduced the Aime family to the Schwartz family, a reunion indeed, 73 and half years later. Everyone stepped back as Ms. Merz was presented with the photo. Her face brightened, as she identified her family: her sister Felie, age 10, her brother Adolph, age 17, sister Therese, age 22 and her mother, Madeline, age Merz herself was 7 at that time but was 2 hours away with other family members, she returned to Terville in September As we talked through translation about the photo and that time of the war, she did not remember hearing about Christmas Day in and why her family was there in the basement.

    She then pulled out two photos of her family after the war, including her father and sister Odile, neither of whom were in the Christmas Day photo but all of whom survived the war. Champagne glasses were filled, all three of us stood before the very same wall of the photo, toasting the coming together of our families once again. Merz went on to tell us the story of her family and their lives after the war.