Battle of the Bulge Dedication - Printable Version

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Battle of the Bulge Dedication - Walt's Daughter - 09-06-2006

Sent to me by John McAuliffe, 87th Inf Div





For those of you who could not attend the Dedication of the Memorial erected in the new State Cemetery in Winchendon, MA, by the Central Massachusetts Survivors of the Battle of the Bulge, it was a great, well-organized event.


Many members of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association were in attendance either as members of the Bulge Association or as speakers, organizers, or guests. Attendance was somewhere in the one-hundred range and chairs where provided by the Boy Scouts which made it very comfortable for all who attended the hour plus dedication of the two Memorial Stones.


The Memorials were very well done and a fitting tribute to all of the troops who participated during Hitler’s last attempt to break through our lines in the Ardennes region of Eastern Belgium and Northern Luxembourg. This conflict cost Americans almost 20,000 KIA and another 60,000 wounded. Many of our troops suffered from frostbite due to one of the coldest winters ever reported in that area during December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945.


As many of you know the Malmedy massacre occurred during this time frame and was responsible for 80 American troops being mowed down after their surrender. Recent de-classified reports indicated that there was a similar massacre a day earlier in the same area that involved 11 Afro-American troops. Very few people realized this event even occurred until re-search by Christian de Marken, the historian for the Central Massachusetts Chapter of the Survivors to the Battle of the Bulge, brought this to light.


John McAuliffe and Christian de Marken have spent many hours on this event and decided to combine the Memorials as a tribute to all. Chester Wenc, as Monument Chairman for the Central MA Survivors of the Battle of the Bulge and out did himself with the coordination of the two Monuments.


Christian de Marken was master of ceremonies and John McAuliffe delivered the opening remarks. The guest speaker, Mr. Stanley Wojtusik National Commander of the Survivors of the Bulge, was up next and wanted all to know what a great job Central Mass. Chapter had accomplished with these truly fitting Memorials.


Belgium is ever thankful for the sacrifices, by our troops, needed to save their people during that battle and showed their appreciation by sending General Dany Van de Ven from the Belgium Embassy in Washington, DC to offer their thanks. He gave a truly moving presentation and told us that one of the course requirements in the Belgian school system is to have the children visit the cemeteries were there are American troops buried. The government have set up buildings specifically to teach them of the great sacrifices made by the American troops. He states that, “If you ever come to my Country you will see how much we appreciate what you Americans have done for us, so please comeâ€.


Chester Wenc was wearing the official G.I. issued uniform of that era and unveiled the Memorial dedicated to the Battle of the Bulge. WOW! It’s beautiful and the wording inscribed is very moving.


In attendance, due to the diligence of Christian de Marken, were Miss Pritchett and Mr. M. Pritchett, both relatives of Tec 4 William Pritchett who lost his life in the recently uncovered massacre that occurred during the Battle of the Bulge. They unveiled the second Memorial which is also a very moving tribute to all who gave their lives in one of the largest land battles in American history.


The weather was beautiful, the event very well organized with color guards, drummers, bugler, vocalist, and guest speakers. But the best part of a ceremony like this is getting to mix and mingle with other soldiers and their families who never want the sacrifices of the American serviceman to be forgotten.


John, Thank you again for your invitation,


David McAllister