The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge weekend began Friday with a historic signing by Ambassador Evans, Major General (Ret.) Matz, Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, and Mr. Henri Kox, Minister Delegate for Defense for the Government of Luxembourg of a Statement of Mutual Interest focused on enhancing the visitor experience at the Luxembourg American Cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg. Friday evening, ABMC hosted a moving luminary ceremony to honor the Veterans. Every gravestone was lit by a candle, creating a beautiful visual of the many lives lost and sacrifices made for freedom.
Two Congressional Delegations arrived the next day, one led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and one led by Senator John Boozman. The delegations and Ambassador Evans attended a lunch in honor of the U.S. WWII veterans. The Ambassador and Congressional Delegations then joined the Bastogne Parade through the streets of Bastogne to honor General Patton and General McAuliffe. After returning to Luxembourg, Ambassador Evans hosted the visiting delegations at his Residence for dinner.
On Sunday, Nancy Pelosi was received by HRH the Grand Duke Henri. The entire delegation, along with Ambassador Evans, met in the Parliament. After meeting Parliament, the group and the members of the Government of Luxembourg broke bread in celebration of the strong bond between Luxembourg and the United States at Bourglinster Castle. The Ambassador spent the evening at the Keystone in the Way event in Clarveux honoring the powerful 28th Infantry Division who fought valiantly in the Battle of the Bulge.
On Monday, December 16, 2019, the Ambassador and the delegations joined Ambassador Gidwitz from the US Embassy Belgium and Ambassador Hutchinson from the US Mission to NATO for a ceremony honoring all those that fought in the Ardennes forest and Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge at the Mardasson Memorial and then attended a lunch hosted by the King of Belgium.
The afternoon culminated with the official commemoration ceremony to mark the start of the Battle of the Bulge 75 years ago at the Luxembourg American Cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg. The Ambassador was joined by U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper joined Luxembourg Defense Minister Francois Bausch along with the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Belgium Sophie Wilmes, President of Poland Andrzej Duda, former President of Germany Joachim Gauck, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and representatives from the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada The weekend was capped off by a reception hosted by HRH The Grand Duke Henri at the Grand Ducal Palace.
The weekend was filled with somber reminders, opportunities to reflect on the long-held peace, meeting new and old friends and honoring WWII heroes, those present and those who we lost in the Battle of the Bulge. The weekend’s commemorations were truly historic, appropriately honoring the unique bonds of our bilateral relationship, and expressing gratitude and fondness by Luxembourg’s leaders for our fallen heroes and the United States.
See more pictures on our Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassyluxembourg/
For ABMC photos: https://www.abmc.gov/multimedia/photos?field_cemetery_or_memorial_nid=34
For ABMC multimedia: https://www.abmc.gov/multimedia?field_cemetery_or_memorial_nid=34
For information from ABMC on the American Cemetery in Luxembourg: https://www.abmc.gov/multimedia?field_cemetery_or_memorial_nid=34