tv Battle of the Bulge 75th Anniversary CSPAN January 5, 2020 11:30pm-12:01am EST
$100,000 of cash prizes with a grand prize of $5,000. for more information, go to our website. >> on december 16, 16numbers, 19 -- december 1944, adolf hitler's launched a surprise counter attack. known as the battle of the bulge, hitler's committed over 1000 tanks and 200,000 troops to this last nazi effort, hoping to recapture the port city of antwerp. next, veterans, their families and officials from the u.s. military and allied nations mark the 75th anniversary of the battle with a ceremony in washington d.c. the friends of the national world war ii memorial hosted the event. >> good morning.
on behalf of the friends of the national world war ii memorial, it is much amend his honor to welcome you to the magnificent world war ii memorial. my name is alex kershaw, a member of the board of directors of the friends of the national world war ii memorial. i have written several books about world war ii, including one called the longest winter, which is about the battle of the bulge and america's most decorated platoon from world war ii. it is my great honor to serve today as you master of ceremonies. thank you all for joining us on this chilly, beautiful day as we mark the 75th anniversary of the battle of the bulge, the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the united states in world war ii. in fact, the largest fought in -- by the u.s. of its entire history. friends of the national world war ii memorial was a small non profit organization whose
mission is to honor and preserve the national memory of world war ii and to create the next greatest generation of tomorrow. this morning's ceremony is part of the friends national world war ii memorial four-year world war ii 75th anniversary commemoration, which kicked off on pearl harbor day 2016 and will continue towards the 75th oniversary of v-j day september the 2nd 2020. stress that the friends are the only organization hosting a full four year 75th anniversary commemoration. marking every single major battle in which american troops participated during world war ii. now, if you are not already doing so, please stand at attention and render appropriate honors for the presentation of colors and the playing of the national anthem.
>> army chaplain lieutenant colonel tammy crews will now give the invocation. >> let us pray. gracious god, you have ordered our lives in the compassion of your will. here in our nation's capital, we are reminded of washington and lincoln. one of the 18th century's father and the other the 19th century preserver of our nation. between then we honor those who took up the struggle for liberty and justice, freedom and peace in europe in the battle of the bulge.
in this great series of battles, general eisenhower commented the president situation is to be regarded as one of opportunity for us, and so it was. today, we remember the struggle, the bravery and the tenacity, the acts of heroism of those who fought in the battle of the bulge. those who survived and those who gave all their tomorrows so we might have all of our todays. president truman rightly recognized our debt to the heroic men and women in the service our country can never be repaid. they have earned our undying gratitude. america will never forget their sacrifice. so today, we thank you especially to those who are part of this great series of the battles in world war ii and to their families. we remember those voices now signed and who rest from their labors gain sacred fields of
honor throughout this land and on foreign soil. especially we hold sacred the memory of those who gave their lives in the struggle of peace symbolized by the 4048 gold stars on the freedom wall. they shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father. they fought together as brothers in arms, they died together, and now they sleep side by side. to them we have a solemn obligation. we pause in a moment of silence to remember the fallen at the battle of the bulge. they should grow not old. as we that are left grow old. them norll not weary the years condemn. at the going down in the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. we would be amiss if we fail to forget the families of our fallen comrades who have weekly equally sacrificed by giving up their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children. we pause to think of those who
are deployed in harm's way today. protect them and be with their families. be that our vision -- that we might be faithful to the task of being instruments of peace in our day. let freedom ring. amen. >> on december 16, 1944, today, 75 years ago, german forces launched an amphibious counterattack, sorry, and ambitious counterattack against allied positions in the ardennes forest. their goal was to thwart the allied advance into germany. instead, in this decisive six -week campaign that became known as the battle of the bulge, american forces resisted and overcame the german assault. delivering a huge, fatal blow, to german military capabilities
and paving the way for the final push into germany. before we continue, i'd like to acknowledge some very special guests with us today. first, doctor roberta nolan, daughter of first lieutenant james who was taken prisoner of war during the battle of the bulge on december 21st 1944. and who died on may the 15th , 1945. less than a month following his release, as a result of conditions during his imprisonment. dr. nolan, thank you for being here. we're proud to join you in honoring your father's service and sacrifice. to introduceased representatives of the allied nations that took part in the battle of the bulge 75 years ago. we should remember that it was not just an american victory, not just as churchill said, the
greatest american victory of world war ii. from the embassy of belgium, deputy chief of mission and charge d'affaires, christoph sta el. and defensive attache brigadier general george hansen. from the embassy of canada, canadian forces military attache, colonel patrick roby ichaud. from the embassy of france representing the french defense mission, major poirer. from the embassy of luxembourg, deputy chief mission and charge d'affaires, veronique dochendorf. and from the british embassy, assistant naval attache commander jim morley. finally, i am tremendously privileged and honored to introduce to you our world war ii veterans.
do we have a world war ii veteran here? thank you sir, for being here. we arranged earlier on for the majority of the world war ii veterans to be warm and safely ensconced inside on this beautiful day. they will be with us later. thank you for being with us today, sir. [applause] george armstein served with the 76th army cavalry reconnaissance troop, in the european theater including the ardennes campaign and the battle of the bulge. thank you, sir. , general speaker andrew popas, director of operations j three for the joint chiefs of staff. he served as the principal assistant to the chairman of joint chiefs of staff for global integration initiatives. he previously served as the commanding general of the 101st
airborne division at fort campbell, kentucky. the 101st airborne played a wonderful role in world war ii. deputy chief of staff of operations for operation resolute support in afghanistan. please welcome, i would like to give a great welcome. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you for that introduction, and thank you very much for coming out on this day. chaplain, i thank you personally for providing a wonderful backdrop, reflecting back 75 years ago and paying tribute to those who served, fought and sacrificed in this exact weather. we were able to introduce a number of very important people. thank you all for coming. but i really want to focus on our world war ii veterans and dr. nolan, whose father was
captured at the battle of the bulge. tremendousdered a sacrifice, the burden of the fight, and gave us our freedoms today. thank you for what you have done , and you have been an inspiration. thank you. [applause] friendsant to thank the of the national world war ii memorial team, for ensuring that their legacy continues to live on today and into the future. for me personally, it is an honor to stand before you. as identified, i commanded the 101st. as part of that formation of the years that have gone through, i have gotten to meet and engage with those of the 101st who fought in this fight. i understand those sacrifices they made, personal stories of heroism they have every day. to stand before you today, i am humbled and honored. it was 75 years ago today that
hitler's launched 30 divisions of combat power, in a surprise counteroffensive, to recapture the port of antwerp in the netherlands. it was an effort at the time to turn the tide of world war ii. he knew he was losing. he knew time wasn't on his side, and he had to have one last bold effect to try to drive into a negotiation. the one thing his whole plan depended on was the weather. because he had to deny the american capability, allied capability, where we had air supremacy. and as you can see, the weather did cooperate with his operation, and it deprived us of that strategic capability we had. so under the cover of a bitter winter storm, snow covering the ground, freezing temperatures, he launched forward, three separate armies, two panzer armies and a infantry army. over 400,000 german soldiers
committed to the fight. over 500 tanks. and all the aircraft they could muster from the entire front, committed against an element of the allies. and this is an allied army that was preparing for their own offense. it had taken them by surprise. we were blind, as we didn't have air capability for reconnaissance. it was over the next six days this german army pushed back the allied troops further into belgium, deeper into luxembourg, creating what became, was known as the bulge. 50 miles wide and 70 miles deep, penetrating the american and allied lines. this is where it shows the allies are the most adaptable and most tenacious. the leaders and commanders at the time knew that they had to make bold action. they committed over 60,000 troops, moving over 100 miles in a single day, in order to thwart
this offensive movement forward. key to that commitment at the time, the 10th armored division, pushing the 101st airborne division right into that salient, seizing the crossroads that were critical for the panzers to move forward to get to antwerp. by holding them, here is where allied,le of the american troops was tested. under continuous artillery pounding, two panzer divisions committed against them, fighting day and night without respite, forcing them to survive from hand to hand combat, holding the line, never wavering, and they did withstand. and when the nazis couldn't push them out of position, they surrounded them. the intent was to starve them out, to bleed them out hemorrhage them, force them to , capitulate. under this pounding, supplies running low, unable to take
care of their own wounded, the germans came forward and demanded the surrender of the force that was there. the 101st commander at the time, s bedeputy commander, alwayt prepared to step up. he sent back a one-word response. "nuts." it emboldened the resolve of those fighting and they continue to push for four additional days, denying them the success necessary to push forward, holding them, making them vulnerable. and they got an early christmas present on the night of the 23rd, when the weather broke, opening the onslaught of allied capability in the air. they brought allied bombers to attack and destroy the logistical line, pounding the front lines of the nazis who were forward, and broke the back of their attack. by christmas day and the day
after, the third army led by general patton broke through the lines, ending the assault by the nazis, and linked with the 101st , ending the german attack. as i told you, as commander of the 101st i got to know many of the soldiers who fought. those brothers of mine will tell you, they did not need to be saved. as long as they had a bayonet, the 101st would never be pushed off. that is the attitude of the soldiers that fought, that resolve. it is the battle that winston churchill called unquestionably the greatest american battle of the entire war. it is not just the story of american victory in battle, but resiliency grit, and tenacity of our greatest generation.
thei legacy lives onr in the fighting men and women on freedom's frontier as we speak today. the soldiers who fought in the frigid woods of the ardennes, true patriots. the children of the great depression. from the california coast, the farmlands of the south, the midwest, northeast, even out of new york city galvanizing the nation to go forward and fight . proven in the crucible of combat, and despite the grueling conditions i described, the within this barrages of artillery, the continuous attacks of the germans, not knowing if that day would be their last, they had an unwavering clarity of purpose, the destruction of fascism. it was a purpose they knew was worthy of their sacrifices. after the war, as they came home, their lives changed forever through experiences of this endeavor, they sought
neither recognition or praise. instead, they committed themselves to bettering this nation. and it was their instilling of these values, and the appreciation for freedom, and those who fought in korea, vietnam and the wars from 9/11 forward, it was your actions today that i will tell you as your example in the war, that we emulate and venerate. it serves as example to inspire us, in the most amending of combat that we face, and it is because of you that we continue to fight for the freedoms that make this country great. as i look at the crowd today, and i stand with the warriors of the greatest generation, some who carry the battle scars of battle, i remember those who gave all so we could live prosperous and free. our nation can never thank you enough, sir. we can only make this solemn promise to continue to stay on the watch for all that you
fought for, and many of your brothers died for, to be passed on to the next generation of americans. it has been my privilege and honor to stand before you today and address you. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, general, for those wonderful remarks. 75 years after the germans launched their surprise and attackely unsuccessful on the allies in the ardennes forest, we are gathered here today to remember and honor all of those who sacrificed for the battle of the bulge. over 19,000 fatalities. tens of thousands wounded, many more thousands psychologically damaged for the rest of their lives.
it is now time to present the wreaths in honor of the over one million allied servicemembers who took part in the campaign, and to remember the more than 22,000 allies and civilians who were killed. they are not forgotten. presenting the wreath for the united states of america and the friends of the national world army lieutenant general andrew papas, lieutenant colonel majorcrews, retired army general john hurley. daughter ofnolan, first lieutenant james o'boyle lyons, taken prisoner during the battle of the bulge.
poire, major adrien embassy of france. thesenting the wreath for grand duchy of luxembourg, the deputy chief of mission and charge d'affaires of the embassy of luxembourg. last but not least, presenting the wreath, did you mentioned that? ok. presenting -- thank you. presenting the wreath for the kingdom of belgium, the deputy chief of mission and charge d'affaires, embassy of belgium, and the brigadier general, defense attache, embassy of belgium. and as i was saying earlier, and
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