Soldiers Honor BOB Veterans
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Soldiers honor Battle of Bulge Veterans

By Jason Austin

Army News Service

December 21, 2004

 

DIEKIRCH, Luxembourg - U.S. Army Europe led a joint task force of more than 300 service members to support the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge this month.

 

Task Force Ardennes 60 supported public ceremonies in Belgium and Luxembourg Dec. 15-19 and interacted with more than 90 American veterans of the battle who traveled to Europe for the commemoration.

 

Sixty years ago, during the waning days of World War II, the Allied front had a weak link in the Benelux region. On the morning of Dec. 16, 1944, the German Army attacked that front in a final effort to reverse the tide of the war.

 

"The Battle of the Bulge was cruel, fierce, barbaric and brut, it was the German dictator's attempt to reverse the irreversible," said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker.

 

The Battle of the Bulge resulted in the killing of more than 50,000 Soldiers and civilians with 80,000 more wounded and 35,000 captured or missing, Juncker said.

 

"The people of Luxembourg have never forgotten and will never forget the sacrifice made by young American GIs and British soldiers for their country, their freedom, their future and for the restoration of democracy and peace on the European continent," Juncker said.

 

Maj. Gen. David Zabecki, USAREUR deputy chief of staff for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs, served as commander of Task Force Ardennes 60.

 

"We're grateful to the people of Belgium and Luxembourg for taking this opportunity to thank the American Soldiers who fought to liberate them 60 years ago," Zabecki said.

 

Zabecki encouraged members of his task force to seek out interaction with the veterans who made the journey from their homes for the ceremonies.

 

"I'm paying my respects to the veterans, talking to them," said Spc. Tarenzo Clemmons, driver for the 200th Materiel Management Center command sergeant major. "They fought for me and they did what they had to do, and because they did what they had to do, I'm standing here right now."

 

Clemens was a member of the American Army honor guard during the national commemoration of the "Battle of the Ardennes" hosted by the government of Luxembourg, Dec. 16, which was held at the Luxembourg American Cemetery.

 

Another member of the honor guard, Pvt. Anahita Shirazi, generator mechanic for the 21st Theater Support Command, talked about the mission and the impact meeting the veterans had on her and other Soldiers. "It's all fun and games on the bus, but when you come out here and see the graves and the veterans, it's not so fun any more, it hits you in the heart.

 

Key ceremonies had color guards and command representatives from three U.S.-based units with significant historical ties to the Battle of the Bulge: the 3rd U.S. Army, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the Army Reserve's 99th Regional Readiness Command, successor of the 99th Infantry Division.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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