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Christmas During the Battle of the Bulge

On December 16, 1944, German forces surprised American soldiers in the densely forested Ardennes region of Belgium, Luxembourg, and France, with a massive offensive also known as the Battle of the Bulge, or the Ardennes Counteroffensive. Germany pushed through an Allied line, creating a bulge in the Allied defensive lines. The deadly battle, which lasted until January 25, 1945, was the largest on the European western front during WWII and resulted in an estimated 1 in 10 American combat casualties during the entire war. It also meant that thousands of soldiers spent Christmas 1944 in temperatures that hovered around zero, in knee-deep snow, and with limited rations for Christmas dinner. On the home front, their families spent a nervous holiday season, waiting for word of their loved ones.

Cpl. Frank D. Vari spent Christmas Eve huddled in a foxhole as shells exploded around him all night long. “We could hear their guns going off and the shells landing at the same time. They were close. They almost surrounded the whole place. I remember Christmas Day. I got up, and we had a real bad night, with artillery and everything. The first thing I saw was the steeple of a church down in the valley. It was a beautiful day, the sun was just coming up over a little village at the bottom.” The clear skies allowed US planes to reinforce soldiers along the front. The break in the weather saved Vari’s unit.

Sgt. Metro Sikorsky woke up Christmas Day 1944 in a bombed-out building. He was 25-years-old and serving in Company B, 17th Tank Battalion of the 7th Armored Division. It was his first time away from home in Pennsylvania. All around were the bodies of the frozen and his job included picking up the dead. He said it was so cold that when a soldier died, in a short time the body froze where it lay. There were no presents and no Christmas dinner, but Sikorsky felt lucky to be alive. It was so cold that soldiers cut blankets into strips and wound them around their frozen feet.

Tech Sgt. Maurice Glenn Hughs remembered the terrible winter conditions during the battle. “Hundreds of people lost their feet because they were frozen,” he said. Hughs was hospitalized after the battle and doctors in Paris told him that his feet would need to be amputated. “My legs were painted up to my knees to be amputated. And then the doctors checked and said they wouldn’t have to be,” said Hughs.

Mattie Dickenson of Georgetown, Louisiana, remembered Christmas 1944 as a difficult one. She anxiously waited for news from her husband Benjamin F. Dickenson. Benjamin was drafted when he was 38-years-old and found himself fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. “I do remember that was the saddest Christmas I ever spent. For 21 days I didn’t know if he was dead or alive,” said Mattie. Though Benjamin was wounded, he made it home alive. Mattie kept a piece of the parachute that dropped supplies to her husband at Bastogne.

Soldiers from the Third United States Army carried a printed copy of Gen. George Patton’s Christmas Prayer of 1944. Patton had a copy distributed to each soldier before the battle. It petitioned the heavens for good weather and concluded with a Christmas greeting from the General. It read, “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 the victory. May God’s blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.”  

The Battle of the Bulge was Hitler’s last major offensive along the Western Front. Within a month Allied forces pushed the Germans back and closed the bulge. The battle was called “the greatest American battle of the war” by Winston Churchill and it crushed Germany’s hopes for ultimate success in the war. To learn more about the Battle of the Bulge and soldiers who fought in it, search Fold3 today!

270 Comments

  1. My dad, 2nd Lieutenant Dan Marshall of Lexington KY, had become a platoon leader after completing OCS at Fort Benning (GA) when he arrived on the front in Belgium with the 75th Infantry Division on Christmas Eve of 1944. Like all the other brave soldiers whose stories now appear here on this website, he was proud to serve — he turned out to be a lucky one, who came home without physical injury or wounds, reunited with his bride and had four kids, and finished school on the GI Bill. I well remember as a boy trying on his uniform and cap, playing soldier while wearing his helmet liner, and listening to his tales, which he told quite candidly (but which I was much too young to fully appreciate). There was never any doubt in our minds that his wartime experiences were deep, difficult, and abiding, and they never left him. Some time ago, I found and purchased a copy of LIFE magazine from January 1945, which had a large pictorial on Allied progress in the Battle of the Bulge — there was a huge (B&W) photo of the Belgian forest, damaged by shellfire and gunfire, and layered with much snow — it had been taken on Christmas morning 1944, and I always thought (probably correctly, I still believe) that that photo showed my dad’s very first morning and his first view of just where in the world he had landed when he signed up to serve in the US Army. We owe *all* the soldiers, sailors, and Marines, including of course the brave medics and the civilian supporters and workers back home, our deepest gratitude … for their help and tremendous effort in making our lives today possible. And our thanks to all of you for sharing these stories and memories.

    • Very well said, Daniel, we must NEVER forget the courage and sacrifice of the greatest generation.

    • Nice message. I agree completely

    • Wow. Well pictured and well said. I just lost my grandfather who was the last surviving WW2 veteran in his small hometown in Texas. I cant begin to express the feelings of awe and gratitude for this generation. My kids will be lost of this, dreadfully. I salute your dad, and Merry Christmas sir.

  2. One of my closest high school friends died there. He was a little older than me. He had enlisted and was in training but was instead shipped as a replacement in that battle. I will never know exactly what happened to him, but I have marched as a veteran in Veteran’s Day parades ever since, to honor his memory.

  3. My brother Clarence Schall served with the 28th General Hospital
    the hospital was bombed and many killed. It was a pile of rubble.
    I have pictures before and after. Also my brother wrote letters
    every week from the time he was drafted till he got out. He got the purple heart and a German prisoner standing by him got killed.

  4. My Father Noland Eugene Riley was a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge. He didn’t say much about it, except one incident that happened after the relief came. His unit had been awake for over 48 hours when they found a building to take shelter and rest. As they were sleeping on the 2nd floor, a German Tank started firing at the building and was headed to crash into it. One of the men jumped from the 2nd story window onto the tank, and threw a grenade into the tank, killing the Germans and saving the rest of the men.

  5. My uncle Frank Carrigan of Madison, Maine was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge and received the Purple Heart.

    • I am fairly certain my dad talked about your uncle. I remember his name because one time I was helping my dad to track down the men he remembered from the battle. My Dad wasn’t injured but he did receive the Belgian Medal of Honor and a similar honor from France. I’m sure your Uncle did too.

  6. Cecil Parker My dad now 100 years old was there under Lt Col Lovelady 3th Armored Division. 2nd battalion he was in in a tank. He talks to me about this battle when I ask.

    • Chief Parker. Could you ask your dad if he remembers Joseph William Nichols, known as “Bud”? He was in the 3rd armored and was KIA in early February 1945. Joseph was my grandfather. Thank you!

  7. My uncle Frank Esposito- Brooklyn NY WWII Army Engineers died before Battle of the Bulge

  8. My Dad, Ernest T. “Babe” Neil was a radio operator in the 70th tank battalion. He never talked about this time or any of the other battles. He survived and lived 15 years after the Battle of the Bulge, dying after a car accident. He suffered “battle fatigue” that we now call PTSD till the day he died.

    • My condolences to you and your family not only on his death but on the painful silence you all suffered through in the years after he returned from the war.

  9. Wow. What sacrifice. Brave men all.

  10. Thank you for sharing. The pictures got to me! A picture says a 1000 words! God bless you Dad and to all the other Dads that went off to war when their country called on them to do so!

  11. My dad, Joe Eubank was there also. He was in the 101st Airborne. He never told my brother or I about being there. The only way that I found out he was there was when I took some of his military records to a recruiting office and asked them to translate what it said. The young Army soldier told me that he had been in the battle.

  12. Pop was a combat medic, 9th Armored. Saw lots of horrific things but rarely spoke of them he received a Purple heart but I think after the war. He was awarded it due to frostbite. Does anyone have any info on this?

  13. My father, Jim McQuade, was there. He never talked about his time during the war but when the movie came out he watched it & still didn’t talk about it.

  14. My Dad, John Bolger, was the 87AFABN, known as the Jeopard. He fought n the Battle of the Bulge. I am forever proud of him and grateful to all who served.

  15. he never talked about it. I do think he arrived at Bad Orb in bad health and if the camp didn’t get saved by our side, he would have been dead in a few days.

  16. My great uncle David Phillip’s died on Jan 6,1945 during the Battle of the Bulge. He was a combat engineer and while laying mines, one exploded. He died instantly, and another soldier died a little while later. My Great Grandmother saved all his letters home and I am lucky to have them all. Sadly I learned a lot from reading this article…he told his Mom that they cooked up “quite a spread” for them, and that they were sleeping in a warm building for Christmas.

  17. my mom!s 2of her 6 brothers were there chester radecki was a medic and anthony was a grunt they had not seen each other in over 2 years and ended up in a foxhole together in the battle!both survived but anthony was never the same he was 19 at the time

  18. I remember a stirring account of that day the sun came out after so many days of over-cast fighting told to me in 1961 by a man of Luxembourg that made me so proud of our fighting men. When the Germans made their thrust into the Arden forest. the people of Luxembourg knew they would soon be occupied for a second time and many executions would follow. Gen. Montgomery, the little rat, wanted to pull back to France and regroup, but the prince of Luxembourg personally went to Patton and on his knees begged him not to give up Luxembourg. As we know he did not. Like he said, “I don’t like to pay for the same ground twice. Then my friend told me on Christmas morning as the sun was rising a distant sound of airplane motors was heard that became louder and then to a mighty roar as they drew nearer. He said he along with many others ran out of their houses to look to the sky and when they did, with actual tears of remembrance in his eyes and great emphasis after so many years, he exclaim,the sky was black, Black, BLACK with American bombers. We knew we were saved and the Germans were lost. The people all rejoiced in the street with great happiness and relieve. They never forgot Patton and the men who fought for them; and to this day each grave in the American cemetery is lovingly cared for by a Luxembourg family and Patton who is buried there at the head of his men is celebrated with a parade, flowers and marshal music. God Bless our fighting men who held off odd of 6 to 1 and kicked Ass on behalf of democracy that men might live free and not die slaves.

    • Couldn’t have said it better! I’m 83 and still free because of them!

    • Amen! Well said – thank you
      These men who fought, and some who died are The Heroes, In deed of highest Order!

    • Thank you for sharing this story. Tears actually came to my eyes reading about the folks in Luxembourg coming out of the homes to see our brave pilots flying overhead and knowing that freedom was possible. My Dad served in the Pacific Theatre and his two brothers served in Europe with one in Patton’s army. My mom’s brother was in the Battle of the Bulge. I am so proud of all these fine men – truly proud of them and all of our military. I am so fed up with the PC folks putting down our history, our military and law enforcement. They are cowards.

    • Regarding the story from Gerald Livingston:
      What a stirring story! I’m so glad to have read of the Luxembourg people. My dad was an 18 yr old Seabee in Guam at the time. He never spoke of his time in the jungles of Guam except when he was under the lingering effects of anesthesia in the early 2000’s. It shocked us all to say the least! We will never know all the stories of this time in history. Thanks to the Lord God Almighty who was & is on our side to this day! Thanks again for sharing.

  19. My Dad was in the 309th Rifle Regiment attached to the 78th Infantry Division. The 309th was involved in the Battle of the Bulge. The unit saw combat for 43 straight days from December 1944-January 1945. The winter was brutal. The 78th joined the battle in Belgium and pushed through into Germany. The 309th was involved in the Remagen Bridge campaign, Schwammel Dam capture and were able to cross tge Roer River to push the Germans back into the interior of Germany. God bless the troops that battled the Germany Army in unbearable conditions!

    • My uncle Joe Verbanick was killed in Germany being a Timber Wolfe and had moved up quickly In the ranks from stories told in February 45 around the Roer(spelling matter be incorrect ) . Thanks for sharing the story and the comments. My dad also being in the army never really talked about his experience in the war. I know at one point he was in Italy and also Okinawa. I just wish I had ask him questions and had written it down.

    • The Timberwolf Division is the 104th Infantry Division. My father was one, at the Battle of the Bulge, too. They received a battle star for that engagement.

  20. I wish I would have read this article a year or two ago. I just finished writing a novel in which the main character’s grandfather fights in The Battle of the Bulge in a flashback chapter- one of the book’s longest. I had to rely on Youtube videos and Google searches to research the entire event. I’m wondering how close my descriptions came to the actual event. My book is called The Long Way Around and is in the final proof-reading stages. It should be available on Amazon by the end of January 2020 if anyone is interested. I’d appreciate any feedback. Sorry for the self-promotion but this is a very interesting topic for me.

  21. My father, Roy Neufeldt, was a tank gunner with 2nd Arm’d Div, Hell on Wheels, and was at the battle. He was 20 years old. A life changing event.

  22. In 1975 I was stationed in Belgium while in the US Air Force. I met a woman who was 15 years older than me there. She was from the Ardennes area of Belgium. She told me of the times during the battles there when she was young 4-6 years old. She recalled them like they were yesterday to her. I cried during most of the stories she told. Her parents worked the underground. Her “favorite” memory was of a US Army soldier that would rock her to sleep each night. She said there were 7-10 soldiers that stayed and defended her parents farm during the battles. Yes, they all survived! I had the privilege and f meeting her parents. They were still thankful 30 plus years later to the Americans that defended them!

    And yes, this young woman and I had a tremendous loving relationship for many years. Though we walked away forever friends, my still love her deeply!!

  23. Not to disparage ANY veterans who were valiant during WW2. BUT you’d think by all these replies that the USA was the only country to resist the Axis, Germany & Japan.
    The truth is that Canada’s military joined Britain to protect the west at the war’s beginning, LONG before the USA deigned to join in fighting. The United States of America allowed all our military personnel losses, THEN JOINED THE BATTLE ONLY AT THE VERY LAST!!!!!!! La-de-da!

    • Too bad you feel that way. They were all heroes.

    • It’s not our fault that no posts have yet mentioned the contribution of the Canadians. Most of us are just retelling the part our father, grandfather, uncle, or some other relative played. I think you are being oversensitive. If you don’t see any Canadians mentioned, write a post yourself giving them their due but don’t whine because we didn’t say anything.

    • MaryLouise, You’re wrong in that the US entered near the end of WWII. It was Sept. 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. In May of 1940 Germany turned West to Belgium, Britain & France. France fell in June, 6 weeks later. In June of 1941, Britain joins Soviet Union to attack Germany (Germany had attacked their ally the Soviet Union). Only 6 months after that Japan attacks Pearl Harbor ( Dec., 1941) & US enters the war. This was only 18 months after Britain was bombarded by Germany. We were in the war until May 1945 (Europe) & Sept. 1945 (Pacific). So to say we got in at the last or the end of the war is a bold untruth.

    • Probably showing your age or lack of proper history taught in school. It also is a fact that many from the US went to Canada to join to war effort against Germany before we declared war. Don’t think the British Empire and France could have defeated Germany without our help. You might start by reading up on the Lend-Lease program in which the US provided the materials for its Allies to wage war.

    • MaryLouise, are you trying to rewrite history. Get your facts straight before you start whining. By the way, you ARE disparaging the veterans no matter how you preface your comment. La-de-da and a zippy de do da for good measure!

    • Please folks, I don’t think the brave men from every country who lived and died this battle would approve of the tone of some of these replies, tho the Canadians are sometimes overlooked. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest reading Rick Atkinson’s Liberation trilogy – Guns at Last Light – especially the final volume The War in Western Europe.
      My brother served in the Pacific and was on both the Lexington and the Wasp when they were torpedoed.

    • La-de-da my ass lady. Compare Omaha Beach to Gold Beach and count the casualties between the two. How many Canadians were in the Battan March, Midway, or Iwo Jima. Being first did not win the war. My bother-in-law did not come out of his tank below his waist for 43 days in Italy. La-de-dah yourself.

    • As the son of a Canadian WWII veteran, I am appalled at your comments and attitude. A veteran is a veteran no matter what flag he served under, be it British, American, Canadian, French, Australian or whatever, they all served for a common goal. To defeat Nazi Germany and preserve the freedoms that you enjoy today. They were willing to give up their lives without question. You should be ashamed of yourself and apologize to all veterans regardless of their nationality and to their families for your thoughtless comments.

    • Thank you for speaking up.

    • Mary Louise

      Read the novel “Churchill”
      It goes into great depth about the war, the English,USA and Canadien involvement. It will give you insight into the whys and wherefores of US eventual involvement,and how Roosevelt had to fight political battles at home while Churchill cajoled and held out with a “never surrender “ attitude till the USA finally joined in the fight

  24. My daddy, Carl McCray, served with the Army as a tank driver and was in the Ardennes battle. He was not wounded during his service and never spoke about his experience.

    • I remember my Dad, Gene Riley, who served in the 10th Armored Division, mentioning your father’s name. He didn’t talk much about it, but near the end of his life he wanted to find a soldier that he felt deserved the Medal of Honor, so he shared some names with me. God Bless them both. Dad was 22 at that time.

    • Any information you would share regarding your father and my uncle would be greatly appreciated.

    • My uncle, Ken Balding – a 36 year old family man, the father of two sons ages 11 and 4 – was an Army railroader who was also in The Battle of the Bulge. He contracted TB during that time and was a disabled veteran until his death ib 1974 @ age 66. My father and mother (Army), along with two more of his brothers (Navy, Marines) all served in different theaters of WW2. Tom Brokaw was right on the money to call that generation “The Greatest Generation.”

    • I agree they were the greatest!! No cell phones. No computers no news folks were there with them. My mother said she never knew if my dad was dead or alive- not to say now the folks in the military aren’t great – it was just totally different . I so wish my daddy had talked about it but that’s just the way it was.

  25. I’m age 88. I was the last of 13 siblings. My brother, Leonard Floyd, was in Company A of the three companies of the 413 Anti- Aircraft Battalion. They were to land on Normandy Beach the first day, but couldn’t make it until the second day. He only related a few experiences, but one was about being over-run during the Battle of the Bulge. He talked about how cold it was then and that he was sleeping in the open one night on a cot and that when he woke up, the snow was even with it. He said when the Germans attacked, the Infantry that was supposed to be protecting their dug-in positions got in their trucks and ran. He said that Classiford Muckleroy of another Company, but of their hometown of Star City, Arkansas, and without any training manned their abandoned machine gun and held the Germans off until they could get in their trucks and leave. Classiford was awarded a medal for his action. However, Leonard said several times that if anyone ever deserved a Congressional Medal of Honor, that Classiford did. Their AAA guns were later recovered. The y were then attached to General Patton’s command and became a part of his famous run to the Rhine River where they were stopped. He also said that was mistake. He firmly believed they should have whipped the Russians while they were at it.

  26. My father Technical Sgt. 7th Armored Div. Co D, 31st Tank Bat. Light Tanks KIA 21 Jan 1945, near Ligneuville Belgium, May he rest in peace

  27. my father served in the 101st and fought in africa to normandy to the bulge. he remembers it as very cold. and the airburst of the artillary clearing the forests. he was wounded but refused to stay in the rear and rejoined the company. he was with the band of brothers.. he never completely got over the war.
    My christmas in 1965 was in vietnam… my christmas in 1967 was in vietnam. I served in the Marines. My sons christmas in 2010 was in Afghanistan. We are all blessed to have survived.

  28. I read many of these stories of bravery. I was a 1970’s 6 year weekend warrior and I don’t even count my time as meaningful because I was not one of those who fought. My dad and father-in-law were in the Pacific. My uncle was a tank sargeant in Europe but due to separation I never learned of his treks before he died in 1980. My other uncle Sal died in Italy fighting Germans. I am always moved by these stories and the sacrifices, and the immense courage of ALL of these men no matter which theater they fought in. America means everything to me. I hang the flag every day of the year on my porch and my special one on Memorial Day, D-Day, and Pearl Harbor Day. While I taught my own children about these sacrifices, values, and made sure they would not forget, I am saddened as I see today’s generation radicalized from pre-school to college and taught that America is guilty of anything and everything. Saul Alinsky, the Marxists, radical teachers unions and professors, and those who embrace them wish to divide Americans into sub-groups, and have painted an America that attempts to diminish its greatness and courage (of these great, honorable soldiers). As a child of the 50’s we heralded our soldiers. Today’s younger generation are taught that virtually everything that comes out of this country is bad except the latest Nike tennis shoe design. They have no idea how special this country is. Your vote matters as does your teaching the younger generation in your household…..children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. Don’t rely on anyone else to tell America’s story of greatness as history is being re-written one county at a time by the least expensive contract provider of history books (with tales told to generate a George Soros narrative). Do something nice for them when you see someone in uniform.

    • Pleases let’s not get political. Brave people fought from both parties. What’s important is to teach our children to honor and respect our soldiers and veterans;my father in England and father-in-law in the Pacific in WWII,both deceased. My husband was lucky enough to serve in Germany during the Vietnam War. Respect them all ,and if the school books don’t tell their stories,we need to.Thank you all for you and your families’ sacrifices.

    • Sorry Nancy, the truth is that we are fighting a real battle right now for our nation’s survival. I don’t want the men who died for our freedom to have been wasted because you can’t see the battle going on today for the minds of our children. Paul has it right. I spent 20 in the USAF and 20 in America’s schools, and what I saw happening with our kids scared me more than the rockets and artillery attacks of combat in RVN. Sorry, the idea that we can be apolitical is foolish. You need to take a critical look at today’s battle ground, the university campuses and in the public school classrooms both elementary and secondary.

    • Right On! And we all need to stand up and put a stop to the foolishness that those who want to control or kill us will be nice if we just talk to them. Start with the schools. Federal control has ruined our education system. Parents need to take back control.

    • You are so very correct sir. If all of us who had friends and family fight for our freedoms against tyranny, we have to engage in the war for our kids. They’ve been taught lies about our founders, our country and our history. If we don’t fight this deliberate attempt to undermine our constitution we’ll lose our nation and it won’t be long

  29. My name is William C Schaffner. My uncle Paul Carl Schaffner was at the Battle of The Bulge, but I am having great difficulty finding any info on him. Any help or ideas would be much appreciated. God Bless America!

  30. My father. Cpl Bruce C. Grubb of the 84th Infantry was killed near Bastogne Christmas Day 1944. He was 33 years. I was born June 5 1945. He had been “over there” for only a month.

  31. My uncle, Guy Hoffman, is also 100 years old and was in the Battle of the Bulge. He told me of when a Lt. came out of the officers tent and told him to drive a Jeep and take a certain road. They did and drove right through a German camp and surprised everyone in it. They kept going and eventually turned around only to go back the same road and through the same German camp. This time they shot at them but made it safely through. He was also in a barn hiding with other solders when a German tank drove past. Brave men all of them. He was in the 101st Airborne.

  32. As an American, I was taught that we fought that war to save the world.
    As an adult I have found out that we fought that war to save Joseph Stalin and to save the world for communism. I mourn all our Americans killed in that unnecessary war.
    Major general Smedley Butler was right in his book: “war is a racket.“ You can read it for free online at
    Warisaracket.com

    • In this comment I would have to disagree with you. Yes, war can be “a racket” if fought for the wrong reasons. But to save a people from genocide is not a bad reason. We went to stop the a people (and anyone who tried to help them) from being murdered, being used human guinea pigs, and anything else that they could think of to torture them. We went to try to stop one group of people from taking over the world. My uncle fought in Africa and Italy for over 3 years in this war. My father (being younger) was trained for Japan but was sent to Germany. He like many others did not talk about the war but I did see a flash back. We were having a blizzard with thunder and lightning. He was waking through the house saying “It is just like there, It is just like there”. My father was with the 1st artillery division. So the noise, flashes of light, and snow sent his mind back to Germany.

      Please do not dishonor my father nor the people that fought in this war by saying it was a mistake to be there doing their duty to protect our way of life.

      In the farewell papers my father received upon discharge, there is a lengthily letter stating that we must keep our eyes open and be involved in our local and well as national governments to ensure people of good morals and character are serving the people as they should.
      Thank you to all Veterans in all wars.

  33. My father in law Carl Doxsie served with Patton through seven major campaigns, starting in North Africa. He was at the Bulge and told of finding a way to hinge plywood together for portable shelter for the men to help against the cold (he had previously suggested a way our tanks could cut their way through the hedge rows at Normandy). A depression era 10th grade dropout, he was an inventor and creative do it yourselfer his entire 92 yrs. He was awarded the Bronze star.

  34. My dad was killed in Metz on the day it was liberated, shortly before the Battle of the Bulge began. My uncle, now 100, is an ace with 9 confirmed and 4 probables in the Pacific. He retired as a Radm. I was in Vietnam, my 2 sons are Marines. The youngest is still in, A Capt serving at this time with special forces. I no longer watch NFL games because of the gross disrespect displayed by the PLAYers. They should not be idolized in any way. They are not heroes.

  35. My father, Isadore Meitzler, fought the Nazis from North Africa into Anzio Italy. and on into Germany. At one point, healing an injury, he was Gen. Patton’s driver. Then, in the fall of 1944, while home on leave (again dealing with yet another combat injury) the family was notified that his younger brother, my uncle James Meitzler, was killed at the very start of the Battle Of The Bulge. I was not born until the 1960’s and never knew my brave and dutiful uncle James except as a beloved hero. What I do know is that Christmas 1944 was a difficult one in my father’s rural Eastern Pennsylvania home. James was a brave tank driver and part of a tank destroyer battalion. He died valiantly during an intense tank battle in a small Belgian town near the Ardennes. God bless you James ❤️ in February WE WILL be celebrating your 100th birthday, even though 24 birthdays is all you got. God bless you and all who served, our blessings of freedom today are due to your sacrifice then.

  36. My father in law did not talk much about his service in Europe. Our general impression was he did not see action because he was a motor pool mechanic. One Christmas day twenty years ago or so, we had some very cold weather. My brother in law and I were in the den with him discussing the weather. He just mentioned that the coldest he had ever been was at Bastogne. He never said anything else about it.

    • My father never talked much about his WWII service either. One Christmas Eve, we were sitting around the table after our family dinner enjoying coffee and anisette. Suddenly my Dad said, “45 years ago tonight, I was sitting in the snow outside of Celle watching Patton’s tanks roll by.” We all looked at each other, I quietly said “Dad” twice, then again and shook his arm to bring him back. For those few minutes he truly was in France, and not with us.

    • Correction : My error, Celles is in Belgium.

  37. Does anyone remember Capt. Dr. Kenneth Ockermann, a doctor right out of medical school that was at Normandy and then at the Battle of the Bulge where he was injured. His records along with many others in the Army burned while stored in St. Louis.

  38. La-de-da my ass lady. Compare Omaha Beach to Gold Beach and count the casualties between the two. How many Canadians were in the Battan March, Midway, or Iwo Jima. Being first did not win the war. My bother-in-law did not come out of his tank below his waist for 43 days in Italy. La-de-dah yourself.

  39. My father died on December 24, 1944 at the Battle of The Bulge. I was six months old. We have never been able to find much information about his military records as they were destroyed in a fire in St Louis. If anyone remembers the name George S. Broglie from Baltimore Maryland I would love to hear from you. Thanks

  40. My dad Burnie May, served under Gen Patton in the Battle of the Bulge. I asked him once about his memories of the war and he started to tell me about one particular incident and then he stopped and teared up and couldn’t finish his story. In respect, I never mentioned it again. He passed away in 2013 and I miss him terribly and greatly appreciate his service to the greatest country in the world.

  41. My beloved father fought in The Battle of the Bulge. Growing up I recall several stories my father felt comfortable telling us. He remarked how very cold it was and his life and that of his servicemen were distinctly spared on two occasions. One night a group of men from the Lorraine Division bunked out in a barn. My father awoke to relieve himself and as he opened the barn door, he was face to face with an armed German soldier. My father slammed the door in his face, woke his buddies, exiting milliseconds before a German panzer blew up the building. On another occasion, my father and several other men were trapped in a French/Belgium basement. German soldiers were very meticulous in searching out buildings for enemy combatants, but this time the soldier opened the basement door, patted a resident dog on his head and left. My dad never forgot that. He distinctly remembers that lone hand patting the dog’s head. He also recalled the Germans were so close in one of his battles that all that separated him and the enemy was a rose hedge. Their artillery had to pretty much be directed almost straight up. He sadly told us that the German army during this battle was made up of young boys and old men. I could tell this bothered him. Oh how I wished I had paid more attention to his stories. I had known he received a Purple Heart of which I was so proud, but several months ago my brother informed me that Melvin John Paul Gunther, an infantry man, my dad, had earned 2 Purple Hearts, 3 Bronze Stars, and a French Medal of Honor. After the war as his return ship approached New York Harbor, the vision of Lady Liberty was too much to bear. There was not a dry eye as each serviceman appreciated the beautiful country they sacrificed so much for. As with others, his records are limited due to the fire. According to my mother, my dad suffered PTSD for a few years upon his return and I was a hold out until he could readjust to civilian life. It is highly unlikely anyone is alive that served with him, but should there be, I would love to learn more.

  42. My grandfather Joseph William “BUD” Nichols made it through Normandy only to die in the Battle of the Bulge. I still have letters he sent my father from Iceland, England and France. The saddest one is FROM my dad to his and is marked “Return to Sender”. Daddy was 11.
    If anyone remembers Joseph, I’d dearly love to hear from you!

  43. Thank you Daniel. Sadly our country doesn’t teach history as it should. I have even seen “blogs” saying they don’t understand why these men were part of and called “the greatest generation”. After all, look what their generation has accomplished since. That’s the thing exactly, they achieved their feats without all the modern “toys” they have now. Let them try to build an Empire State Building in three years, hell it would take that long to get all the necessary permits today! Send your children to Hillsdale College, even take the free classes they have online, then maybe they begin to understand that they WERE “the greatest generation” then, now and probably always will be! Thank God (and these phenomenal soldiers) we can still speak english.

  44. Let’s be accurate about KIA’s. 42000 Canadians died in World War II whereas over 414,000 Americans died. Every one of them sacrificed their all for us. We have allowed liberal teachers and professors to rewrite history watering down the truth. I had an uncle to have died in World War II, one Uncle wounded four times, an uncle whose feet were frozen at Bastogne. My father fought in three theaters in the Pacific having contracted malaria that he fought for 20 years after he came home. I had a father-in-law that fought with Patton’s third Army winning a bronze metal for Valor. We should all listen to the truth and honesty of what actually happened. Do not allow liberal rewrites to infest the classrooms. There are very few movies that accurately tell of the GI plight in World War II like the Diary of GI Joe . God Bless America and God bless Canada. I am a Nam era veteran. We will always have to fight for our freedoms. Let’s never forget those who have sacrificed for our countries Freedom’s. If we placidly set back there will be no future Freedom’s. As one person has already suggested, God Almighty has always placed his hand on this wonderful country. Please, let’s not forget our wonderful for Father’s sacrifices.

  45. My grandfather was the captain of the 770 field artillary battery b. He served in the Battle of the Bulge too. He was fortunate. His men found stacks of trimmed logs in the forest just outside of Lascheid Belgium. He thought they were probably there to be used for telegram poles. There were two men in his unit that knew how to build log cabins. They quickly built some and were able to get out of the snow for a few weeks. They couldn’t use fire or lights and had to remain very silent but he felt this helped him live through the cold. Unfortunately once they broke through the line and were in Germany he was seriously injured. They were assigned to clean up a mine field. One of his men felt he could dismantle a mine but blew himself up along with my grandfather. My grandfather was taken to a medical aid station where he was left. He was able to get men to transfer him to the hospital where he received the help that saved his life. 6 months later he finally came home.

    My grandmother said she received a telegraph that he was “seriously wounded” but that was all she knew until my grandfather was able to call her weeks later.

    Later when he had a total knee replacement, they found even more shrapnel 50 years later.

    I can’t even imagine having to fight and survive in the freezing snow with very little food or shelter. I am so grateful to the men that served! I am especially grateful to those who saved my grandfather!
    God bless them!

    • I was told my uncle was shot in the back at the river roehr( spelling not correct ) which was really like a creek . I forget the exact date but have it in my records. Yes it is sad what they went thru just to survive

  46. I was too young to be a member of the “greatest generation” but my father was as were all my uncles. Most were infantry but one was a B-17 pilot and one was in the Navy in the Pacific. My dad was seriously injured during the Battle of the Bulge and spent the next few months in the American Hospital in Paris before coming home. My uncle, the pilot, was shot down over Germany and was a POW before escaping and being returned to England thanks to the French Resistance. None of them were very interested in talking about the war but never hesitated to remind me that serving one’s country was an honor! I went on to serve 33 years in the US Air Force, retiring as a colonel after serving during Vietnam, Kosovo and Desert Storm. Looking at today’s youth, I will proffer that serving in the military today is a responsibility, not just an honor!

    • Thank you so much for your entire family’s service in all the many areas of war and for your sacrifices .
      Your father would be proud and I am personally grateful.

  47. Patricia, I have searched hundreds and hundreds of books. I actually have quite a library of vintage books as well. I have been looking solid for almost 3 years. I have gone to WWII museums and have been on endless phone calls. My next trip will be to the Archives in Maryland. My grandfather was Sgt. Jack Cleaver. 28th Infantry Division 112th Infantry Regiment.

  48. Like your parents who were there and saw the horrific things but didn’t talk about it, my mother was a Nurse with the First Army and she was there as well. She would not talk about those battles either. Occasionally she would share something about working 24-48 hrs in surgery with no rest; hearing the “buzz bombs,” etc. She was in 8 different battles and her units were captured by the Germans twice. She did have nightmares for a long time on returning home. I wish we could get more information about the Army Nurse Corp.

  49. Randall, I totally agree with you! Not only are they not teaching correct history in school, they are even teaching lies–the Holocaust did not happen, etc. We must teach our children and grandchildren the truth! Thank you for serving in Vietnam. Both my parent served in the Army–my Mom, Lt. Reba Green, in Europe and my Dad, Sgt. Raymond Hammock, in the Aleutian Islands. My husband served in the Air Nat’l Guard as a Firefighter, though he retired. My Son also volunteered as a Firefighter but died in a car accident before he made any decision about joining the Armed Services. I greatly honor our Vets, Firefighters, and Police, who go into danger everyday to protect our freedom. You ALL are HEROS!

  50. Patricia, yes, I love Ancestry! Thank you and I hope at some point I can say I found the picture.