Volksmarch column for the September 24, 2009 edition
This year is the 65th anniversary of some of the most important campaigns of World War II. D-Day, Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge have had or are having special remembrance activities.
Among them are the annual Bastogne Historical Walk, which will be held on Dec. 12. As part of a whole weekend of activities, a monument is being dedicated to the 326th Airborne Medical Company of the 101st Airborne Division at the place where, on Dec. 19, 1944, their field hospital was overrun and most of the division’s medical staff and equipment were captured. Plans are being made to have several veterans of this attack present for the dedication, which takes place at 11 a.m. Dec. 13.
To raise money for the memorial and to bring the veterans over for its dedication, there is a big militaria show this weekend in Bastogne, Belgium. These shows have a little bit of everything for the WWII or military enthusiast. There will be a lot of vendors selling WWII and Army-related items, both original and reproductions, merchandise and weapons. If you’re looking for a spare part for your WWII-era jeep, a patch for your re-enactor’s uniform, an old bayonet or just about anything related to military history, you just might find it at this show.
This year’s theme will be "Medical Department" in honor of the 326th Medical Company of the 101st ABN. Visit www.ww2-airborne.us/units/326med/326med_report_bb.html for more information on the 326th Medical Company.
At the entrance of the fair there will be a big medical display with original items of a WWII field hospital. For entertainment there will be air castles for the kids, live bagpipe music and a performance by KAS, "the forces’ sweetheart." KAS, whose real name is Kelly Ann Sproul, also will perform at a USO-type show Saturday.
The fair is in the cattle market, which is completely covered so weather will not affect the event. For more information, see www.militariabastogne.eu.
Having spent 27 years in the Army Medical Department and as a WWII historian, Bob is going to be there as two of his favorite subjects merge for a weekend. Then throw in a volksmarch, like the one in Houdemont-Habay, and that will be plenty of excitement for one day.
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We have been hearing about some great trips that some clubs have been taking. The Ramstein Roadrunners took a bus load to the Crailsheim volksmarch and then visited the old city of Dinkelsbühl, Germany. They also carpooled to Bitche, France, where, after the walk, many toured the Bitche citadel. Others visited Fort Casso on the Maginot Line.
The Heidelberg club has been busy, too. We already mentioned their trip to Eben-Emael, Belgium; they also took a bus trip to Paris and Versailles. Twenty-six of them enjoyed a walking tour of Paris, went on a Seine River cruise, and also did the volksmarch around the palace at Versailles. There was plenty of flexibility in the schedule, so there was time for people to do what they wanted.
Our club in the Netherlands just went on a train trip to The Hague. It was Open Monument Day, so the town was very busy, with folks visiting buildings and monuments normally closed to the public. Our walk took us past several landmarks, including the International Court of Justice, the Parliament building, three palaces and the Maurithuis Museum.
After the walk we had a wonderful lunch in the center of
town and then went back to the Maurithuis to see an exhibit that includes three Vermeer paintings and several Rembrandts. We were so engrossed we barely made our rendezvous time for the return trip. It was a very nice walk on a beautiful fall day.
Let us know about any walks that you have enjoyed this summer.
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Our gratitude goes to this week’s contributors: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, John and Evelyn Golembe, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, Tim and Luchi Lynch, John and Patty Marsh, "Pat" and Cheryl Patterson and Bob Gambert, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry and Nancy Shawley. Keep those fliers coming.
Thanks also to the club members and volunteers who helped with the Heidelberg International Wandering Club’s volksmarch last weekend. It is your dedication and hard work that makes this great walk possible!
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Miscellaneous notes about this week’s events:
• According to the DVV Web page, there is a volksmarch in Schweinfurt, Germany, this weekend. We did not receive a flier for this walk, so we do not have all of the usual information. To find out more about this walk, contact Sigrid Loomis at (+49) (0) 9721-304165.
• This weekend’s walk in Röhrmoos, Germany, is not far from Munich and Oktoberfest.
• The prize for completing the walk at Filderstadt-Harthausen, Germany, is a farm house wind light. This is about the eighth or ninth year in a row that we know of that this club has offered these winter-themed buildings, and we have been known to drive several hours to get one. We enjoy lighting them up on a cold winter evening. They make good Christmas gifts as well.
• A 1:400 scale, 6½-inch-long model of an Airbus A330-300 is the Dietenhofen, Germany, volksmarch prize. Walk this Sunday-only event and start the six-, 10- and 20-kilometer walks between 6:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (4 p.m. finish) at the Turnhalle.
Notes about walks in Italy:
• The Valle San Floriano walk is a charity event for the "Children of the Street." A walker’s lunch will be available at the end.
• The start for the Bernate di Arcore walk is L’oratorio in piazza Papa Luciani.
• Sunday’s walk in Verla di Giovo is on the last day of their fest. According to the flier, there is a discount for food with your start card.
Meanwhile, on a different note, Stars and Stripes editors are working on a method to avoid the unfortunate events of Sept. 10, when the volksmarch chart on Stripes’ Web site was from the wrong date. We regret that at least one reader went to two locations looking for volksmarches that were not there. It is true that sometimes computers (and even people) make mistakes, but we hope this will not happen in the future.
E-mail volksmarch information to email@example.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.