Bastogne is a picturesque European town perched on the edge of the Ardennes Forest of Belgium.
Only five months into the raging battles of World War I, an unofficial Christmas truce occurred in the No Man’s Land between German, French and British forces along the Western Front. Singing Christmas carols, the soldiers climbed out of the trenches and forged small bonds of brotherhood.
Belgium is a country of peaceful farmland, canals and charming small towns. But, due to its location between France and Germany, it was the site of terrible fighting in both World War I and World War II.
With its rugged, mountainous wilderness, unspoiled coastal towns, quaint medieval architecture, cutting-edge fashion sense and arguably the world’s best beer, it’s a wonder Belgium doesn’t rank higher on the list of outbound destination countries for U.S.
There are noble American monuments on European soil that stand as a constant reminder of the hardships U.S. soldiers experienced during World War II. The war separated over a million soldiers from their families, bringing them to foreign soil in an effort to defeat Adolf Hitler on many fronts.
Krampus Run
Dec. 5 in Salzburg, Austria
Fearsome horned, fur-covered and masked beings known as the Krampus descend upon the Salzburg Christmas market to scare visitors into their best behavior.
Walk through the gates of the Luxembourg American Cemetery and you are on hallowed ground. Rich, green lawns lie surrounded by woods of spruce, beech and oak trees. White crosses stand in memorial to the soldiers who gave their lives in World War II to defend this area of the world for freedom.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (Tribune News Service) — James Vaccarella was treated like a celebrity Thursday at Niagara Falls High School.
HAZLETON, Pa. (Tribune News Service) — A Belgian man never forgot seeing an American B-24 bomber succumb to enemy fire and crash in a field near his family’s farm on Christmas Day 1944.
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — U.S. soldiers and their families followed in the footsteps of the famous Company E when they visited World War II battlefields to mark the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge this weekend.