Reader Mike from the Netherlands sent us a tip that the American Historical Marker in Bastogne may be in danger, due to drawdowns in the Belgian Army.
As you may already understand, the Belgian Army is, once again, facing drastic financial cutbacks over the next few years. Despite the substantial number of closings that have been effected in the past, a new wave of shut-downs for other Army Bases will soon become a reality.
Sadly, this information will quite likely pass with little fanfare or publicity through media, as it is the norm for our times. And it is my fear that people may miss one of the most tragic details these actions would include: The closing of Bastogne’s Army Base and the most important Historical Marker of the defense of Bastogne by the 101st Airborne Division and attached units in World War II.
The Army Base was the 101st Airborne Headquarters during the siege at the end of December 1944. This base was, indeed, the Headquarters where General McAuliffe responded with his historical message to the Germans’ demand for surrender: “NUTS.”
Any Screaming Eagles out there?
It’s bad enough our European allies are unwilling to spend money on their own defense.
I’ll say this, Belgium (and the Dutch) have done good work in memorializing and recognizing the sacrifices young Americans made to end fascism and free their peoples from the yoke of Nazi tyranny. But the ranks of those who survived and immediately benefitted from that are thinning, just as the ranks of our own World War II vets are rapidly diminishing. Will the Benelux nations continue to remember? I suspect so, and I certainly hope so.
Bastogne, of course, was the site of one of the key engagements of the Battle of the Bulge. The Ardennes Counteroffensive remains the largest battle in the history of the US Army, and certainly deserves to be remembered and memorialized.