My daughter and I visited Bastogne last month. I wanted to see the place that had been the scene of such terrific fighting in 1944-45 when Germany mounted a massive, last-ditch attack that took the Americans by surprise. Their goal was to wipe out some 20 U.S. divisions, thereby countering the winning U.S. war effort. The resulting battles lasted about a month and claimed some 75,000 American soldiers, before the Germans surrendered. The film series "Band of Brothers" vividly portrays the furious fighting that took place.
There are numerous museums in Bastogne. We visited the one dedicated to the 101st Airborne. There is also a beautiful monument dedicated in gratitude to the Americans by the Belgian people. A narrative of the battle is carved in English in marble, as are lists of the American units that fought and the states that were represented. The gratitude of the Belgian people to America for keeping their city free is very clear. As an American it is very moving to see what an effort was made by our forces and to experience how this was, and is, appreciated by the citizens of Bastogne.