Sixty years ago today
Carol sends the following article from the New York Post along with her comments . A timely reminder indeed.
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The road to victory has always been paved by bloody battles. And, in the past we had a press that understood the deep and great sacrifices that were made. Those Americans? The famous infantry division: THE BIG RED ONE. They saw action, starting in 1942, against Rommel. In the desert. At one time General Patton was leading them.
Then, with success in North Africa, they pulled into Europe through Sicily. High mountains. Difficult terrain. And, they pushed Hitler and his minions out. Mussolini would fall. And, from here, after seven months of training in secret, these men stormed Omaha Beach. And, Continental Europe was ENTERED HERE.
When the article says "six months" ... that was some six months! To get to the Battle of the Bulge. Where the depleted Germans made their last stand. By handing rifles to ten year olds. And, by having old men fighting our seasoned troops. In the cold. And, the bitter weather. (There's even a picture of General Patton pissing in the Rhine. He had promised to do so. And, he did!) But it was a very costly victory ... and, where is European support for the USA now? Anyway, the article from the NY Post is wonderful. And, a good reminder ... so that we never forget that tyrants must be fought tooth and nail. The article's conclusion makes a point well taken. CAROL
LESSONS OF THE BULGE
December 16, 2004 -- Sixty years ago today, Allied forces in the Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxembourg unexpectedly found themselves face-to-face with Hitler's last great offensive of World War II the Battle of the Bulge had begun.
Six months after the invasion at Normandy, the war seemed won: Americans had retaken most of western Europe; German forces were being forced back to their borders for a last stand.
Yet in 10 days, Hitler's panzers opened a 50-mile bulge in the Allied lines, effectively dividing U.S. and British armies; it took weeks of heroic struggle in sub-zero temperature to reverse the losses.
In the end, the Battle of the Bulge was the single biggest engagement in which U.S. troops have ever fought.
And among the bloodiest: Over those six weeks alone, America suffered more than 80,000 casualties including 19,000 killed and nearly 24,000 captured.
The Battle of the Bulge also produced one of the most inspiring moments of the war: When the Germans, having surrounded his 101st Airborne in the Belgian city of Bastogne, demanded his forces' surrender, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe replied with a single dismissive word: "Nuts!"
One can only imagine how today's press corps would have responded to that: How dare the general be so flippant in a moment of crisis!
Commentators would be demanding to know why U.S. intelligence didn't foresee the offensive. And howling for Gen. Eisenhower's scalp, to boot.
Even at the battle's low point, Eisenhower understood that Hitler had gambled and lost. When the attack stalled, Germany was spent in the West.
As U.S. troops continue to struggle in Iraq, more than year after toppling Saddam Hussein, the Battle of the Bulge is a useful reminder that war is usually about surprise and setback.
Operation Iraqi Freedom is no different. Patience and courage made the difference in the Ardennes; it will again in Iraq.
BonnieBlueFlag adds her own eloquent comments:
Carol, that was a nice remembrance of the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, thank you for posting.
After the 100 mile march of Patton's 3rd Army, and just prior to the Battle of the Bulge, Gen. Patton asked a chaplain for a prayer for good weather. The prayer follows:
"Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations."
To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I Wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God's blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day. G.S. Patton, Jr, Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.
Patton ordered 250,000 copies to be printed, and for every officer and soldier to be given a copy of the prayer for good weather.
To this day, my Father, who was with Patton through the 100 mile march to the Battle of the Bulge, still carries his copy of that prayer in his wallet.
I wonder when the ACLU will have Patton's prayer for good weather erased from our history as well.
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BonnieB. -- Thanks so much for sharing those memories -- that was so moving to hear. We cannot even imagine what those men went through in those horrendous months. They were the greatest generation, indeed. It is a debt the world will never be able to repay. As I told you before, my own family was liberated by the Americans as they huddled in a shelter, nearly starved to death at the end of the war. They have never forgotten the kindness and good cheer of the American GI's who showered them with chocolates and gum and rations. At that time my parents could only dream that someday they would have the opportunity to live in this great country of America. And as you know, my mother still thanks God almost daily that we managed to wash up on these hallowed shores. Thank your father for us and all freedom-loving people. I was so moved to read that he still carries that prayer in his wallet. He and the others like him are true heroes.