Re-enactments, parade mark Battle of the Bulge remembrance

A World War II re-enactor tells a story to other participants as they warm themselves beside a fire during the Bastogne Historic Walk Dec. 15, 2012. The trend has become increasingly more popular in recent years, and there are even re-enactment camps where participants can spend the weekend surrounded by other history enthusiasts.

The Belgian town of Bastogne holds its annual commemoration of World War II’s Battle of the Bulge this weekend, with walks and other activities honoring the American soldiers who defended the town from German forces.

This year marks the 69th anniversary of the German siege of Bastogne, a town that was seen by the allies as strategically important to German plans to recapture the Belgian port city of Antwerp.

American forces defending the town were surrounded by German troops and outnumbered 5-to-1, but they refused to surrender. The town was besieged from Dec. 20 to Dec. 27, 1944, when elements of the U.S. Third Army arrived.

To commemorate the battle, the town each year flashes back to its 1944 self, complete with period vehicles, uniforms and re-enactments. This year’s events include a parade, the laying of wreaths and the 36th Annual Historic Bastogne Walk.

The walk is offered in three distances – seven, 13 and 22 kilometers. Registration is required and can be done on site on Friday from 3 to 8 p.m., or Saturday from 7-9:30 a.m. Registration costs 6 euros per participant and includes a souvenir patch, a certificate of participation, a map, a historical booklet and a hot beverage along the route.

The starting point for the walk is just outside town at the Centre Sportif Porte de Trèves on Rue Gustave Delperdange in Bastogne. Parking is available on the street.

For more information (in French), visit www.bastogne.be and click on the picture of walnuts on the right side of the page.


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