Mardasson Hill American WWII Memorial in Bastogne.

Seeing as how tomorrow is Armistice/Remembrance Day/Veterans Day I wanted to visit a memorial this week. Clémence is coming tomorrow and spending the night, so with her and the boys we’ll have our hands full. Actually, it’s going to be one adult/kid since it’s a holiday both Greg and Adeline are home. I decided to go to Bastogne for a number of reasons. On Mardasson Hill just outside Bastogne is an American WWII Monument dedicated to the 76, 890 Americans who were killed, wounded, or marked missing in the Battle of Bulge in the Ardennes that took place from Dec. 16, 1944-end of January 1945. It was a memorial I hadn’t been to. And in Band of Brothers they fought in Bastogne, so I thought it would be neat to go there.

I couldn’t have asked for better weather. The past few days have been grey and threatening rain, but today was sunny. I think it got up to about 18° in the sun, but in the shade it was definitely crisp and cool. I found myself wishing I had brought my mitts this morning. When I was standing on the path leading to the monument reading the information there my hands were pretty chilly. The drive there and back was very enjoyable. The sun made all the crisp reds, oranges, and yellows of the leaves stand out. There wasn’t much traffic either so I was really able to take in the scenery and enjoy the ride.

Also on site is the Bastogne Historical Centre. Unfortunately is closed in March for 18 months so no museum today. When I got there I noticed a bus in the parking lot. While I was standing on the path leading to the monument, reading the info board, a group of what I think were students was on top of the monument. By the time I finished reading they had left and it was just me and one other guy. It’s sort of strange being at a big monument like that all by yourself. It was like that at Vimy as well. Just you and the silence, alone with your thoughts and the incredible view. This monument wasn’t as influential for me because I had never heard of it before coming here. Unlike Vimy, which I learned about in school. In fact, the only reason I knew about it was because it’s in my The Best of Belgium book.

The monument is in the shape of a 5 point star and has the name of all the states along the top – outside and in. Along the outside of the wide columns are lists of the army units that fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Along the inside of those pillars is carved the same thing written on the info board, explaining about the battle and why the monument is there. At least I think that’s what it says. I just glanced quickly at a few of them, but they looked familiar. Inside the start there is grass and some bushes that give it a really warm, welcoming feel. There is also a spiral staircase (I really don’t like spiral staircases) that takes you on top of the monument. The view was amazing. After a while fog started rolling in. It created an interesting effect in some of my pictures. Well, at least it’s interesting to me :P.

It’s a beautiful monument, very inviting with benches all around, nestled in trees and fields with grazing cows. And I really liked how all the states are listed. No names, but the states and army units. It didn’t stir within me the same sense of I don’t know what that I felt while at Vimy. I think it all comes down to the flag. I’m patriotic – not insanely so – but as the year comes to a close I find myself yearning more and more for home. I feel a sense of excitement and longing when I look at a Canadian flag. As close as the good ol’ US of A is to my home the star-spangled banner doesn’t make me feel the same way. I have friends and relatives in the States and I’ve enjoyed all my visits. Of all the cities I’ve been to with school or on family trips, I’d have to say Boston and Nashville are my favourite. I haven’t been to New York so I have no idea what I would think of that city.

All in all I’m really glad I went. It was a beautiful monument, a beautiful place – despite the construction – and a beautiful day. Now come take a look with me.

This star-shaped monument stands as a reminder of the 76, 890 Americans killed, wounded, or marked missing from the Battle of the Bulge.

Inside the monument.

A view from atop the star.

Stars and stripes forever.

 

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© 2010-2011 hollyjb

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4 Comments

  1. Ok, I just realized that I have been here! Years ago, before I was really an American. 🙂 I enjoyed the post!

    Reply
    • That’s awesome! I thought it was a really neat monument, with all the State names and such. I liked it.

      Reply
  2. I was hoping you’d share pictures. Lovely!

    Reply
    • I love sharing pictures! It’s just trying to decide which ones, lol. I’m not having the issues I was having with the Bruges album…I don’t know why, but I’m not complaining.

      Reply

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