Americans, Belgians mark Battle of the Bulge

BASTOGNE, Belgium — Braving snowy weather, Americans and Belgians gathered in the Ardennes region of Belgium on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of one of the biggest and bloodiest U.S. battles of World War II—the Battle of the Bulge.

Jean-Claude Klepper, 62, of Virton, Belgium, and his 15-year-old daughter Aurelie dressed up like World War II GIs to mark the occasion.

“We must never forget what happened in 1944,” the elder Klepper told The Associated Press. “Many American soldiers came here to defend Europe. We must honor them for what they did.”

Stephen Sams, 41, a U.S. soldier based in Germany, said for him the battle waged in the dense forests and narrow valleys of Belgium and neighboring Luxembourg epitomized “the unwillingness of American forces to give up in the face of adversity.”

Starting on Dec. 16, 1944, and for nearly six weeks, more than 600,000 American soldiers, fighting in freezing conditions and often hungry and dog-tired, took part in desperate efforts to contain, then throw back, a surprise German counteroffensive masterminded by Adolf Hitler himself.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill hailed the ultimate result as “an ever-famous American victory.” But it came at a high cost: 80,987 U.S. casualties, including 10,276 dead, 47,493 wounded and 23,218 missing, according to the U.S. Army’s official history.

Total German casualties are estimated at 81,834, including 12,652 dead and 30,582 missing.

After the end of the battle, on Jan. 28, 1945, Allied forces attacked Germany in unison, eventually leading to the Nazi surrender and the end of World War II in Europe.

In the town of Bastogne, where soldiers of the 101th Airborne held out despite being cut off and surrounded, shops and windows were decorated Saturday with American and Belgian flags. One local restaurant displayed a drawing of an American flag and the message “thank you.”

Talk to us

More in Local News

Monroe woman missing since Tuesday, says sheriff’s office

Kenna Harris, 25, was last seen leaving her family’s home and was reportedly on her way to Walmart.

Tyler Chism was diagnosed with COVID-19 and is currently cleared, by CDC standards, but chooses to remain indoors at home on March 20 in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Gallery: Life in Snohomish County as coronavirus takes hold

A collection of images by our staff photographers from our COVID-19 coverage over the past month.

Watch Gov. Jay Inslee’s Thursday news conference here

He will be joined by state health officials to give an update on the coronavirus response.

Victims of 2 Snohomish County homicides are identified

In unrelated cases, a man died of a gunshot in Lynnwood, and an Everett landlord died of blunt-force trauma.

Closed Edmonds car lot dodged hundreds of thousands in taxes

For years, Kero’s Auto Brokers greatly underreported its sales, and how much it owed the state.

Final farewells continue, but few are allowed to say goodbye

Rules for funerals limit attendees to immediate family. In Darrington, a memorial tradition is on hold.

Watch Gov. Jay Inslee’s Wednesday news conference here

He is expected to discuss the need for manufacturers to provide personal protective equipment.

COVID-19 and supporting essential workers

Public Health Essentials! A blog by the Snohomish Health District.

Inslee signs transportation budget, with car tabs in mind

The state will account for vehicle registration fees it collects, in case they have to be given back.

Most Read