BASTOGNE - General Information
We recommend the official site of the Bastogne City :
main site of Bastogne
2004, December 12th:
Christmas Concert in Rachamps (Bastogne)
Until early 2007 the City of Bastogne, Belgium, conducted an OFFICIAL Medal Presentation at the
City Hall of BASTOGNE, for any WWII veteran and
accompanying group of friends and family.
Unfortunately there are (almost) no Official 60th Commemoration Remembrance
Medals available anymore.
However, the City is still willing to receive any visiting veterans and families
in an official and appropriate way.
Please contact the City at
http://www.bastogne.be or contact me to help you to connect with the
In September 2005, a medal was conducted to :
- Donald 'Don' BURGETT (506 PI/A Co).
This was witnessed by his friend Mark Bando, writer of
several Airborne Books.
Don also has written several famous books, the one about his
history at Bastogne is 'Seven Roads to Hell'.
In December 2004, medals were conducted to :
- Ken HESLER (463 PFA/D Btty)
- Marvin D. MARSH (506 PI/I Co)
In September 2004, medals were conducted to several veterans :
- William 'Wild Bill' GUARNERE (506 PI/E Co)
- Edward 'Babe' HEFFRON
- Forrest 'Goody' GUTH
- Amos 'Buck' TAYLOR
In June 2004, medals were
conducted to :
- Clarence 'Clancy' Lyall (506
Co), I brought the Medal to
Normandy where we met.
- William 'Bill' Tingen (463 PFA/B Btty), I brought the medal to Greenville, NC.
Speech at the City Hall
Whenever possible I try to attend at these
Medal Presentations, and then I sometimes speech.
Hereunder the words I spoke when Bill and Babe were in Bastogne on September
I have added the speech here beneath not only
it was the one for Mr. W. Guarnere and Mr. E. Heffron.
I have added it because it was the first one I have officially used at
the Bastogne City Hall..
Reading those words again today , I have the
feeling and strong belief that these words were not meant for them
alone, but for all of you, veterans and patriots from all Nations.
If you are an Allied veteran or patriot, from any Nation whatsoever,
reading this speech, please do have the feeling it was also written
ESPECIALLY FOR YOU.
Guarnere and Mr. Heffron, dear Veterans, dear family members and friends,
dear tour members and organizers, fellow Americans; dear City Council,
ladies and gentlemen: It is a high honor for me to speak to our American
liberators and the American people here at Bastogne today.
my expressions of gratitude towards you are never-ending, I will try to keep
it short. Most of the time I leave the speeches to politicians or managers
which I am not…
was a 10 year old kid I had two big wishes: to be in the military and to
shake hands with at least one of my liberators. My first wish became reality
at 16. I enlisted for the Non-Commissioned Officers School and studied there
for three years, and at 19, I became a tank commander.
wish came true just recently in 2004 when I had the honor to shake hands
with your friend, Clancy Lyall, in Normandy on June the 5th,
close to Ste Marie du Mont while watching a parachute jump out the well
known C47 Skytrain, with troopers in the original M1942 jumpsuits.
after that, I flew to Greenville in North Carolina where I shook hands with
Bill Tingen on his 80th birthday. Bill was a member of the 463rd
Parachute Field Artillery, 101st Airborne Division, here in
Bastogne in 1944.
And now I
have the privilege of meeting you here, Bill and Babe, with accompanying
veterans and all your relatives and friends. I am really blessed.
I have tried to organize this event today with the City Council is that we
want each of you to understand, that you will be honored forever and
always by the nation you freed. Generations to come must know what
happened here and we can only do so by keeping the memory alive and by
educating them that freedom did not come automatically, but was restored by
the efforts and sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of patriots and soldiers
during World War II.
and Babe, to the entire 506th Parachute Infantry, to the whole
101st Airborne Division, to all American liberators, to all
Allied troops and patriots in World War 2 : THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU
for liberating our country and defeating the enemy !
always honor all the liberators who fought here in the noblest of causes,
and I am sure America would do it again for us, any day.
allow me I would like now to read a part of Laurence Binyon's poem “For the
Fallen”, used as the Canadian Act of Remembrance. It seemed appropriate to
read these words now in memory of all fallen comrades :
shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
will remember them.
and may God bless you!
WILLEMS, BASTOGNE, BELGIUM, SEPTEMBER 16TH 2004.