People from around the world will gather in Bastogne, Belgium, from December 13 to 16 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge.
The Bastogne December Historic Walk, which takes place on Saturday, December 14, will bring participants in the footsteps of the 101st Airborne Division. Many re-enactor groups will participate in the walk or line up along the different routes to reconstitute some Battle of the Bulge scenes.
Participants have the choice between three distances: seven, 14, and 21 kilometers. Participation is €7 per person and proceeds from the walk go to US veterans.
Registration and payment are on-site only at the following times: December 13 from 3pm to 8 pm, and on December 14 from 7am to 9.30am at the Sports Center located on Rue Gustave Delperdange.
Walkers will start from the Sports Center between 7am and 9.30am. Participants will receive a free hot beverage along the route, a map of the walk, a historical booklet, and a souvenir patch. A certificate of participation will be issued on arrival.
In addition to the walk, a patriotic parade will begin at 2.30pm on Saturday, December 14 as well as a wreath-laying at the Patton and McAuliffe monuments.
Organised by the Town of Bastogne, the event brings together veterans, brotherhoods, dignitaries, students, Belgian and American military platoons and veterans. The ‘Jet de Noix’ (throwing of the nuts) from the balcony of the Town Hall will bring the commemoration to a close.
On Sunday December 15 a static exhibition of military vehicles will take place in the Quartier Latin at 12.30pm. A parade will start at 2pm and all the vehicles will be displayed until 4.30pm in the Grand’Rue.
The full schedule of events is as follows:
Friday, December 13 at 7 pm
– Opening and fireworks
Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15 from 9am to 6pm
– Military market with books, clothes, and more
– Meetings with veterans
– Vehicle Restoration Center open doors
– Historical vehicles
– Panther Tank of the “Musée des Blindés” in Saumur, France
– M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley demonstrations
– 101st U.S. Airborne Division presence
– Special Operations Regiment
– Motorized Brigade with two variants of PIRANHA III C
– Medical Component
– Defense Information Center
Sunday, December 15 from 12.30pm to 4.30pm
– Static exhibition of vehicles
– Departure of the parade towards the city centre with the participation of the U.S.101st Airborne Division
Other events will occur for the 75 years of the battle. On Sunday, December 15, a new monument will be inaugurated in the village of Schönberg, Belgium. The memorial tells the story of how approximately 7,000 GI’s of the U.S. 106th Infantry Division who were captured in and around Schönberg, after being surrounded for several days and having suffered many casualties in the heavy fighting. The monument is located near the bridge across the Our River and is dedicated to all Prisoners of War. The ceremony will start at 9.45am.
In Hardigny, on Saturday, December 14 (from 10.30am to 4pm) and Sunday, December 15, the village will re-enact the 1940s with a historic, marked trail that will allow visitors to discover and experience the living conditions in the countryside as they were during the winter of 1944-45. A pyrotechnic display will occur on Sunday, December 15 at 10.30am. The village was selected for its aesthetic appeal and historical value. The show consists of a ‘lively’ retrospective of this sad moment in history interpreted by re-enactors featuring U.S. and German military personnel and local civilians.
From December 13 to 15, the village of Bizory will feature an airfield where you can discover the legendary Piper planes. It will be open from 10am to 7pm. Entry is free. There will be a reconstituted military encampment as well as a militaria fair. The airfield is located on the path of the historic walk.
For more information about Bastogne and other events, visit https://bastogne75.com/ and https://belgiumremembers44-45.be/history/