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It often lacks the attention of the Bastogne stroll, but for a quarter century another group of Belgians has been gathering every February for a walk of their own to commemorate the Battle of the Bulge.

And, unlike the December affair to the south, which lauds the deeds of the 101st Airborne Division, this event is in tribute to the 82nd Airborne Division.

Scheduled for Feb. 17, the 2007 march covers a 15-mile stretch that begins and ends at the foot of Thier-du-Mont Hill north of the village of Grand-Sart. Located off of Highway E25 to the east, the area is about 25 miles north of Bastogne, or roughly 70 miles north of Trier, Germany.

“It’s a rugged march,” said Tom Goode, a Ramstein, Germany, High School teacher and one of the organizers of the march. “It’s not like a Volksmarsch.”

For the last several years, the march has drawn between 600 and 700 participants, according to Emile Lacroix, the Belgian man who founded the event in 1983. While that number falls well short of the annual Bastogne march, the gathering tends to be more intimate, and there is a higher percentage of participation among those who attend and fewer observers.

“People stay more together and things are less spread out,” said Lacroix, who was 4 years old when the massive land battle unfolded.

At least six veterans of the battle are due to attend, Lacroix said. A few may walk part of the trek, but all are expected to be on hand to chat with participants over the course of the day.

The route taken every year rotates between four sites. This year’s trail follows the area under the operational command of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Last year’s walk honored the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment. The 504th and the 505th PIRs are also in the rotation.

Interested parties can register in advance or on the day of the event between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. The walk starts at 9 a.m. and lasts until about 3:30 p.m. The registration fee of 6 euros includes a certificate, lunch and a post-walk snack.

For more information, including maps, go to the 82nd Airborne “All American” Belgian Chapter of the C-47 Club at: www.82abn-footsteps2007. blogspot.com


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