Veterans Day in Tunisia

November 15, 2010

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Gunnery Sergeant Philip A. Palmer is the detachment commander at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis. He wrote the following blog about the Embassy’s Veterans Day ceremony:

I currently have 5 Marines that serve and protect here in Tunis. We spent our birthday honoring the Veterans and paying homage to those who have served. My Marines performed a color guard detail for the ceremony where the guest of honor was VADM Harris, USCOMSIXFLT. They are proud to take the time out of their busy schedules to perform for distinguished guests. To do so on two special days, Veterans Day and the Marine Corps Birthday, makes it that much more of an honor. I have a humble bunch, but I can see the swell in the chest when they get kudos or someone just says great job. We are proud to serve on our birthday, as we are proud to serve each and every day. We have hosted guests from all over Africom, including the COCOM. Each time we enjoy it and are honored. Thank you for what you do and we look forward to your next visit to our community.

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Celebrating Veterans Day in France

November 12, 2010

By Lieutenant Colonel Steve Lamb, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs

It was Veterans Day, cold (4 degrees C, 39 F), wet and windy at 4 a.m. when my mother and I boarded a bus to begin our USO tour to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France.  Five hours later the country and terrain had changed but the weather was still the same, not pleasant.

This trip was special for me; it was the first time in 20 years I would have a day with just me and my mom.  She and my father are visiting for 7 weeks from El Paso, Texas.  Unfortunately, Dad was ill and unable to make the tour.  Regardless, we were on our way knowing that Mrs. Elizabeth Plotner, the USO Stuttgart Tours Manager, had a great day laid out that would surely “build memories for a lifetime,”  to use my mom’s words.

I don’t know much about WW1; trench warfare, mustard gas and the beginnings of aerial combat about summed it up for me, so I did a bit of reading up before the tour so I was ready.  As we left the autobahn just south of Clermont-en-Argonne and began the winding trek north through small villages and farmland I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be here, fighting, in this area nearly 100 years ago.  It wasn’t really that difficult of a task because so many of the buildings haven’t changed much.  This region has little industry, and according to Mrs. Plotner, most folks here are retired.  Quiet villages, each with their own war memorial, are stretched out across the hills and valleys which once were aflame with battle.

We passed by the hilltop where once stood the village of Vouquios before the German Army mined beneath it and obliterated it from below with explosives that literally removed the hilltop.  We also paused shortly at the Pennsylvania Memorial in Varennes.  The monument was erected by the State of Pennsylvania “In honor of her troops who served in the Great War” in 1927.  Varennes is the village where Louis the 16th and Marie-Antoinette were captured 21 June 1791 while fleeing Paris.

Soon after we had arrived at the American cemetery. 

The Meuse-Argonne Cemetery is the largest American cemetery in Europe; the 130 ½ acres of manicured lawns and gardens is the final resting place for 14,249 fallen Warriors of World War 1 and also commemorates another 954 whose remains were never found.  Nine Medal of Honor recipients are buried here including Corporal Freddie Stowers, who died valiantly in the battle for Hill 188 in the Champagne Marne Sector of France.  He was the first African American to ever receive a Medal of Honor.

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The ceremony, conducted outside the chapel which overlooks the gradually slopping hillside with thousands of white crosses and stars of David, was simple and yet profound.  The highest ranking military members of the area were present as were the local Mayor and other civic leaders.  French military reenactors, decked in WW1 wool uniforms, stood proudly in formation across from elderly French veterans each holding national and military flags.   The American National Anthem was followed by the French National Anthem, each a recording of a bell choir.  The American and French national flags on the poles above our head blew out in the wind as a message from President Barack Obama was read by Mrs. Plotner and then a lone trumpeter sounded Taps; not a sound was heard from the assembled audience.  Following Taps there was another short trumpet call was played; we were told it was the sound of Cease Fire, the same call that was sounded not far from the Cemetery at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918…. The Great War was over.  Wreaths were laid and old memories resurfaced in the minds of the elderly while new memories were formed in the minds of the children.

Shortly after this ceremony we were treated to another special ceremony just down the road in the town of Romange where a different monument stands, this one dedicated to the French Resistance fighters who fought so valiantly to support France against the Germans.  This ceremony was similar to the one we had just attended.  To my great pleasure I observed French grade school children standing rigidly at attention as the American National Anthem was played.  I thought to myself how sad that we in America are so quick to forget how to give respect to our Flag and Anthem when here, in a little French village French school children know better how to show respect than grownups in my own country. 

The end of the ceremony was truly special.  A young man stepped before the monument and stood at attention facing the crowd while an older man, carrying a worn French flag on a simple wooden staff stepped forward to face him.  A few words said in French and the flag was passed from the old man to the young.  The leadership of the French Resistance had just been passed from a father who was too old for battle to his son who now would take up the cause in protecting their lands.

The reception following this ceremony was all French Champagne and fresh breads, language barriers collapsed and there were smiles from all who attended.  At one point one of the older French military reenactors approached me and took my hand to shake it but he didn’t let go.  He told me he was honored to participate in these ceremonies because he was the son of a French fighter pilot that fought alongside our “boys” during WW2.  He teared up with pride in sharing that his son was now with our “boys” in Afghanistan serving in the French Army.  The brotherhood of arms, pride in our profession and the sacrifice of our families is the bond that links us all over time.

Lunch was simple sandwiches at the Romagne ’14-’18 Museum whose curator and owner, Jean-Paul de-Vries, proudly displays artifacts from the time.  He has around 60,000 artifacts in his collection of which 98% he personally found over the last 35 years.   His searches, which he limits to a 5 km radius of the museum, have unearthed war craft of all sorts from all the various units that fought in the area.  This Dutchman with French citizenship used to search the densely foliaged woods of the area until at age 19 he came across a forgotten trench which still held the bodies of two fallen soldiers.  This event changed his focus from the woods to the 100 plus hectares of farmlands in the area.  Each year after the fields are plowed Jean-Paul walks the rows and literally finds a gold mine in war relics strewn across the uprooted earth. 

Where we would only see dirt of one or two shades of brown he sees multiple shades and the most minute of variances assisting him in his collection efforts.  He can only display 1/3 of his collection at a time and he rotates it yearly.  When asked what his most prized possession was, he highlighted some children’s leather shoes.  These shoes, crafted from old German boot leather, were made by a German soldier for French children.  According to Jean-Paul, that means this soldier was likely a father or uncle back before the war.  Focusing on children, Jean-Paul uses his relics to teach about peace.  “You take off the helmet and what do you have underneath?” he asks, “a man, doing his job.”  He prides himself in his ability to change visitor’s perspective on the battles and make the war real to them.

Later in the day we visited a German cemetery.  This was truly a sad event.  There was such hatred toward the Germans by the French that dishonoring the dead appeared to be a focus at the end of the war.  The cemetery’s official record says that just over 1,400 fallen warriors were laid to rest here but Jean-Paul, among other experts, suspect that it is more like 10,000.  This belief was validated 10 months ago when a large storm toppled several of the pine trees among the graves.  Interwoven in the root systems was evidence of three layers of remains.

At the end of the war there were many small cemeteries across the region that held the bodies of fallen German soldiers.  Traditionally when a solider dies in battle, they are buried in a cemetery on that battlefield or, under the best of circumstances, they are returned to their homeland.  Instead of following this tradition ,the French moved these bodies to one centralized cemetery; or at least most of the bodies.  Many of the smaller cemeteries were desecrated, the original square head stones were collected and when possible the bodies were moved but often they were just left behind.  The region now could then boast a 6km road built with headstones; words facing down.  “You don’t want to shame yourself in what you are doing,” says Jean-Paul.

The French employed four tactics to dishonor the Germans.  Their graves lay under black crosses instead of traditional white.  They buried them under tall pine trees in order to prevent the sun from ever shining on their graves.  They moved them from their rightful burial sites but didn’t send them home and they planted ivy on the graves, a plant associated with death. 

Jean-Paul is one of a few volunteers to come out once a year to light candles, one for each of the Soldiers in the official records of the cemetery.  No other ceremonies occur here despite the fact that the German government actually owns the land.

By this time in the afternoon the light drizzle that had begun hours before was turning to freezing rain.  The dark headstones of the cemetery, the images we had in our minds of the fallen and their subsequent disgrace took on a powerfully sad persona.  

I couldn’t imagine how difficult this time was for the French and Germans alike.  Thin undershirts, wool outer garments and maybe a wool blanket to curl up on under as steel rained down day after day while they were so very far from home.   The cold, the wet, the horror.

Jean-Paul had a very sad look on his face, “Big storm coming in, we’ll probably lose another tree or two,” he says.  “I will have to come back out here right afterward.  Someone has to collect the remains if the trees fall.” 

Hatred is a vile thing, in times of war and in the times of peace that follow. 

The top of the Pennsylvania War Memorial has an inscription around the brass basin which reads, “The Right is More Precious than Peace.”  War, it is about people and not the tools that we use to fight it.  The Right must prevail even at the temporary expense of peace.

I am honored to be a veteran, the son of a veteran and a government service employee.  I am proud to be affiliated with all those who came before me and those who serve today or in the future to include a few of my children who have already determined service is important to them.  God Bless our Veterans, the Veterans of our foreign Allies and God Bless America.

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The Few the Proud….the MARINE CORPS WIVES!!!

November 10, 2010

Marine Corps 235th Birthday Ball

Diane Cano, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs Office wrote

Today is the 235th Birthday of the Marine Corps! And being married to a Marine for the past 17 years I feel safe in saying that WE have been in the Corps for a very long time.  With that being said I thought hey it’s kind of our (Marine wives) birthday too…so let’s see how other Marine wives feel about being married to a Marine on this birthday!  Let’s face it, many of the wives are forgotten during this time, but our Marines are able to do what they do because of the many many things WE do.  There may be times when our husband’s are fighting in the war, but if you have children, you’ll agree when I say, we are fighting in a war of our own!  The main difference is we get no awards, and there is no end to our tour of duty! 

 

Unless you have walked in the shoes of a military wife you can honestly never understand the many silent (well okay sometimes not so silent) sacrifices we make for our husband’s.  My first introduction into the Marine Corps life was two weeks after we got married.  My husband left for boot camp.  This was the beginning of a continuing pattern of him being gone all the time.  With time, I began to realize a few things:

 

  1. That once we had children, I was a single parent with a paycheck! 
  2. That HIS social security number was WAY more important than mine.
  3. That whatever time he says he’ll be home, it’s always best to tack on another 30 minutes to an hour, because that’ll be the time he actually gets home.
  4. Like it or not the Marine Corps comes first!  

 

Now in his defense he did tell me early on in our marriage, “I’m a Marine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”  Man he wasn’t kidding!   Though I am a bit biased, the Marine Corps way of life is like no other…the brotherhood and pride that each and every Marine takes in wearing their uniform and the Eagle, Globe and Anchor is surpassed by no other. During our time in the Corps, I have had the greatest opportunity to make life long friends. Let me tell you, these ladies can pull together and get things done in a matter of seconds! I am very proud to be a member of this family and believe me when I say….behind every good Marine is a GREAT Marine WIFE.  I know many of them here!

 

OH and let us not forget that there are many husband’s who support and follow their Marine wives around the country making the same sacrifices that we women do.  This also goes out to you too! 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINES!!! OOOOH RAH and Semper Fi!

 

Well that’s my take on it, here’s what a few other Marine Wives have to say!


Being a Marine Corps Spouse

November 10, 2010

   

Marine Corps 235th Birthday Ball

 By Jill Bright

Being a Marine Corps spouse means many things to me, but mainly that we have the same pride that our husbands have in their job, in their sacrifice and their Corps.  We support our Marines by standing beside them to take care of the things they can not either because they work long hours or they are deployed. On the flip side of it, we also take care of other Marine spouses when the going gets tough, we make meals without knowing their names, we find friends wherever we go—because we are Marine spouses.  We form a special bond with Marine spouses quickly—not because Marine spouses are set apart from other services spouses, but because we have been in the similar paths as them, and know “a friend of a friend” in our small community. We generally feel as if we have known each other for years, when actually it’s only been days.  Marines and Marine spouses do one thing very well—we take care of each other.  Happy Birthday Marines and your spouses! 


What it means to me, to be the wife of a U.S. Marine

November 10, 2010

Marine Corps 235th Birthday Ball

By Mandy Lyman

Being a Marine wife means being flexible and resourceful at all times, with as little notice and resources as possible. It means moving to new places every three years which means making new friends, finding a new job, and claiming damaged household goods…every three years. As the wife of a Marine we learn how to fix things around the house even if we don’t know the name of the tool used to do the job. We change our own flat tires, sometimes even the oil, and make sure the tread is still “good” before making an eight-hour road trip across the Country in the dead of winter to visit family while hubby is deployed. It means mailing Christmas cards to APO’s and PCS’s to friends far away; baking cookies and delivering them to wounded warriors around the holidays. We teach our children to say “sir, and ma’am” and raise our sons to open doors for ladies. There will always be tears to cry and bills to pay, but at the end of the day, seeing those boots at the front door makes me think of one thing: they are worn by a U.S. Marine who fights for my freedoms, salutes the American flag, and will forever and always hold the key to my heart.


U.S. Africa Command Team Wins USAG Stuttgart Commander’s Cup

November 8, 2010

By Gunnery Sgt. Dennis Dougherty Jr., USAFRICOM Sports Council Representative

 In only our second year of participation in U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart sports programs the U.S. Africa Command team has won (earned!) the USAG Stuttgart Commander’s Cup! 

 We couldn’t have done it without all the great folks that volunteered to coach teams, took off time to come out and play on those teams and those that came and cheered/supported our teams.  Thank you to those teams that entered into the community runs (Great Pumpkin Race, Run to Remember, etc) which were an integral part of us beating U.S. European Command in points (210 to 181).

Again, we couldn’t have done it without the players and coaches (following are a list of coaches):

Quincey Collins – Indoor Soccer.

Petty Officer 1st Class Alvin Solomon – Flag Football.

Mr. Craig Jones – Softball.

Tech. Sgt. Stephen Sipes and Maj. Jason Carville – Volleyball.

Mr. Kirk Jones – 2009 Basketball; Cmdr. Mark Innes – 2010 Basketball.

Petty Officer 1st Class (Intel Specialist) Nathan Robinette and many others that have probably slipped my mind – Bowling Team(s).

Mr. Chris Boling – Golf Team). 

 I hope I didn’t miss anyone.

EUCOM did not make this accomplishment easy, we were neck and neck until the very end.  Not only did Africa Command have a good showing for the Great Pumpkin Race and Indoor Soccer (2nd place!).  Our Flag Football team sealed the deal with a perfect season (8 wins and 0 losses) and 4 playoff wins to take the championship!

As soon as MWR has the trophy prepared and ready for presentation, they will present at the next tenant’s meeting.

Additionally, my new assistant who will follow on as my replacement is Staff Sgt. Andrew Moore (AFRICOM’s Information Knowledge and Development Directorate –Analysis and Production Division).  Let’s start working on defending our championship!

Gunnery Sgt. Dennis Dougherty Jr.

USAFRICOM Sports Council Representative

Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge

AFRICOM IKD Operations and Plans


Burg Hohenzollern

November 8, 2010

LTC . Steven Lamb,
US AFRICOM Public Affairs wrote

There is always something to see or do in Germany; you need only hit one of the many tourist sites to pick up a fistful of pamphlets covering everything from upcoming fests to castles or museums.  When my wife and I were at an appointment, she saw a photo of a beautiful castle on the wall.  She asked the receptionist about the picture we were suddenly planning a day to trip to Burg Hohenzollern or as the English speaking world knows it, Hohenzollern Castle.

 Located a short one-hour drive south of Stuttgart, the 80km (50 mile) drive down B27 to the castle winds through beautiful and scenic forests and fields which were particularly striking due to the fall season’s changing of leaves.  As far as we could see were green fields of grass separated by copse of trees of every fall color.

 You don’t exactly get surprised in finding this castle; it sets 855 meters above the Swabian Alb and the city of Hechingen.  There is a narrow road (very narrow for our Chevy Suburban) which winds half way up the hill to the main parking lot.  Here you have two choices, shuttle bus or hiking up this steep mountain….. I am no billy goat!  Besides, my wife and my 70 year-old parents were my reason / excuse for paying to take that shuttle!  The day was overcast, windy and quite cold; I love modern convenience when learning about history.

 The road just kept winding back and forth up the side of this mountain and through each break in the trees we saw more and more beautiful vistas. 

 When we finally came to the top were found ourselves staring up at the ancient walls of a real, honest-to-goodness medieval castle.   Our journey up didn’t stop there however, we had to continue hiking up a circular drive for another good stretch until we finally reached the battlements.

 The view was incredible.  The castle sits atop the mountain and you can get a 360 degree view of the entire region.  The castle itself is simply astounding.  It isn’t “commercial” like Disney’s inspiration the Neuschwanstein Castle; this place is rough rock and steel covered in ivy and populated by life-like statues of warriors.

  On the tower you can see the eagle shaped crest of the castle with all the individual heraldry of the families of the Prussian lineage.  Architectural art surrounds you with small alcoves and gardens which unfortunately were now dying due to the cold. 

 We opted for the guided tour, in part because you always learn more but also because it got us quickly inside and away from the weather.  It was a great decision though because what we saw inside was even more impressive than what was outside.  Regrettably they don’t allow cameras inside the buildings so you will just have to visit yourself to see the ornate carvings, the colorful paintings and the very regal furnishings.

 The main entrance hall has the family tree stretching up the walls with names dating from the 14th century.  At the very top the final name on the tree is the current owner of the castle.  George Frederick, the Prince of Prussia, who, according to our tour guide is a 34-year- old who studied business and economics and currently lives in Berlin.  Oh, she also said he was single; not sure where that benefitted us but she seemed excited about it.

 It turns out this isn’t the original castle but actually the third to be built on this site.  The first castle was built in the first half of the 11th century but it was destroyed in 1423, reportedly as a result of two brother’s feud over birthrights.  We learned that there had been a nine month siege preceding its destruction which was ironic to my father and me because, we both being Soldiers, had discussed on the shuttle bus up what a great defensible position this was.  I even made the comment that back in the 1400s I would want a Keep atop a mountain where I could stave off a siege for several months; weird! 

A second, larger castle was constructed between 1454 and 1460.  It had numerous owners until it became an Austrian military compound late in the 18th century.  According to our guide the military didn’t know how to take proper care of the castle and it fell into disrepair until it was uninhabitable. 

Finally, the current and largest of the three castles was reconstructed between 1850 and 1867 under the direction of King Frederick William IV who visited the ruined castle when he was a 23-year-old Crown Prince.  

The main entertainment hall is 25 meters long but it is slightly narrower at one end than the other to give the visible impression that it is much longer.  This hall can be rented for special occasions such as weddings and concerts.  It is lit by huge chandeliers which each hold around 42 real candles.  It is said that historical visitors could tell how wealthy the lord of the castle was by how long the candles were.  If they were having money problems the candles were shorter, oftentimes reused but if times were good they were very long.  On such evenings that they entertained, when the candles burnt out it was time for the party to end, although my first thought was how harrowing the trip down off the side of that mountain would be at night in a horse drawn carriage. 

The tour wound through the library and reading rooms of the former kings, queens and German emperors who inhabited it years past.  Their bedrooms lacked the gigantic grandeur of Hollywood created castles and its parlors were small and quite drafty.  The last residents of the castle, Prussian Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Crown Princess Cecilie, lived in the castle for about 5 months following WW2 but since that time it has been simply maintained as a part of history.

 We wrapped up the day with a delicious meal at the castle’s restaurant “Die Burgschenke” which had a warm atmosphere, kind service and very reasonably priced and tasty Schwabian style offerings.

 As we slowly made our way down to the bus stop we noticed how quickly it was getting dark at only 5 p.m. The wind picked up even more and the temperature continued to drop; I thought to myself, “a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live here!”

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Stuttgart 21 Demonstrations

October 25, 2010

By Danielle Skinner, U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs

If you live anywhere near downtown Stuttgart or enjoy spending time there on weekends, you can’t ignore the thousands of people protesting the construction of the new train station. 

Whether you are for or against Stuttgart 21, or simply don’t care, there seems to be no way to escape the crowds of people with their “kein Stuttgart 21” signs.  You may have even noticed the tents set up in the park behind the train station, where many people are living.  Some are even living in the trees, to protest them being cut down for the construction!Living downtown, this weekend I found myself in the midst of  two huge demonstrations—one for Stuttgart 21 supporters and an even bigger one for the Stuttgart 21 protesters.   

On Saturday, 10,0000 people gathered in Schlossplatz to show their support for the construction of the new train station.  Since my German is limited to food and restaurant terms, I didn’t know exactly what they were saying but there was a lot of cheering and waving of “I love Stuttgart 21” flags. At the same time this was going on, a larger gathering was beginning to form at the Hauptbhanof train station.  Approximately 50,000 people began marching down the street by the station and turning onto Hauptstrasse, stopping traffic as they made their way around the city center.   

Riot police were positioned at every intersection to ensure the anti-stuttgart 21ers did not clash with the pro-Stuttgart 21ers who were still gathered at Schlossplatz. 

The protests, while very loud and disruptive to those wishing to spend a leisurely Saturday down, were all-in-all very peaceful.   

The Stuttgart 21 project would provide high-speed rail service to and from Munich, Vienna, and Bratislava. Widespread protests for and against have affected daily city life and been featured in international news. Opponents are concerned about the high cost (close to $10 billion) and potential environmental damage. Supporters say the project includes environmental considerations and that Stuttgart would experience long-term financial gains from better connections to cities further East. See related news article: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6143533,00.html

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Stuttgart Soldier’s Fest, What a Wonderful Experience!

September 30, 2010

Tywanna Sparks, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs Office wrote

Pride, camaraderie, and awe-inspiring are all words I use to describe my experience attending this year’s Soldier’s Fest during the Stuttgart Beer Festival in Badd Cannstatt. I was elated to see Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen from the Stuttgart military community, along with their German and French counterparts celebrating together.

I must admit I was a little apprehensive and thought there was no way I would possibly enjoy myself. I just imagined myself as the only civilian in a sea of military personnel with no real connection to the festivities. I was so wrong.

Luckily I arrived to the fairgrounds just in time to see U.S. military personnel exit the bus and fill into the parking lot. They filed into formation and when “right face” was called, I could have sworn I saw onlookers come to attention. I was proud to see our military marching and calling cadence in unison; they literally stopped traffic in the streets. We were the only military to announce our arrival and no other military came close.

In the beginning U.S., French, and German military were grouped into different sections. It was easy to distinguish who was who until the band played and the food was served. Everyone began to toast, mingle and trade service uniform items. The band sang songs in German and English that everyone could sing to. Even though there was an obvious language barrier, the true definition of camaraderie was evident – a spirit of familiarity and trust existing between friends. Even I couldn’t resist the urge to participate; I was singing, dancing, and standing on tables along with everyone else.

All I can say is I’m fortunate I had the opportunity to experience this. I was able to see our host nation’s appreciation for the international military community. I witnessed all military personnel celebrating in a safe environment without any incidents. It is an experience I will never forget.

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U.S. Wereth Memorial ceremony

September 21, 2010

By Brigadier General Robert Ferrell, U.S. AFRICOM’s director of C4 Systems

On Saturday September 18th, 2010 I had the honor of being the guest speaker at the annual U.S. Wereth Memorial ceremony for the 11 World War II Soldiers of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion (FA BN), in Wereth, Belgium.

A little history of the “Wereth 11”: On 17 December 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, the 333rd FA BN came under fire by the German SS Army. Eleven African American Soldiers became separated from their unit.

Cold, tired, hungry and wet, they came upon the farm of Mathias and Mary Langer and their children. The Langer Family took them in, fed them, and allowed them to rest. However, it was not long before they were discovered by the SS. The soldiers were removed them from the Langer home, and savagely massacred. Because of the ongoing fighting and heavy snowfall during that winter, the bodies weren’t discovered until the snow melted the following spring.

In 1994, for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, Herman Langer–one of the Langer children that was present in the home in December 1944, along with some of his relatives erected a stone cross at the edge of their field where the Soldiers were massacred. Since then, a non-profit organization has been developed. A permanent memorial has been erected to honor and remember these men on the massacre site, and the non-profit group continues to work towards its goal of having the Wereth 11 Memorial site be recognized by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

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Before the ceremony began, the Langer Family invited my wife Monique and I, and several other guests, to view the room where the family fed and hid the Soldiers. Being in the room was a very moving experience for us. We then participated in a procession that traced the steps of the Soldiers from the Langer home to the site in the cow pasture where they were massacred and the memorial now stands.

The memorial ceremony was attended by military personnel including MG Baron Bagby, Director, Allied Joint Forces Headquarters, Brunssum, Blegium, CSM and Mrs. Allan Fairley, Command Sergeant Major, US Army Garrison, Benelux, Belgium and other military personnel who travelled from Landstuhl, Heidelberg, and Benelux military communities. Also in attendance were Mayor Schumacker, Mayor of Wereth; Ms. Anne Marie Noel-Simon, President of the US Wereth Memorial; members of the Langer family–Herman, Tina, Anneliese and Marion: and many other community members and supporters of the Wereth Memorial.

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