65 years on, Battle of the Bulge still reverberates

As we celebrate Christmas Eve today in the warm comfort of our Greenwich homes, it’s proper to reflect on the men who helped make our present conditions so pleasant. Sixty-five Christmases ago, 19,000 Americans died, 250,000 (more?) fought to defeat the Germans in the Ardennes. Good history of the battle here. As a baby boomer, I was privileged to grow up in an era where almost every family’s father (and, in my case, mother, too) had served in WW II – We never heard war stories, but the fact that these men had gone off to protect us when they were just kids themselves was an abiding inspiration for a lot of us.

So thank you, gentlemen (and ladies) and Merry Christmas.

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10 responses to “65 years on, Battle of the Bulge still reverberates

  1. Anonymous

    I also offer my thank you and Merry Christmas and extend it to all those currently serving.

  2. Michael Finkbeiner

    My dad was a battle-field evacuation surgeon, whose first day in WWII was the Battle of the Bulge. He never spoke about it at all, but recently at Greenwich Hospital, in their official history brochure, there is a first-person account by a retiring Chief of Surgery, who served in the same unit.

    They had been prepared for 600 casualties, but by the time their surgical tents were set up, they found 6000 wounded soldiers, lying in the snow, awaiting their grim fate. Those young doctors (my dad was 27) operated 18 hours per day for weeks on end.

    My dad never wanted to see much blood after that, and dreaded even 4th of July fireworks. He went on to the liberation of Buchenwald, and much later became Chief of Medical Oncology at Lennox Hill.

    • christopherfountain

      Mike, Pal Nancy’s dad was trained as a surgeon at Columbia University, served as a flight surgeon in London and flew on a numerous flights and, when the war was over, chose to resettle in Watertown, NY, and practice general medicine. He was beloved by everyone and was a huge asset to that town, but I wonder what this brilliant man might have done had he not been seared, so young, by war. Multiply that story by millions and it’s clear that war twists history – in good ways, bad ways, different ways, but twists nonetheless.

  3. Michael Finkbeiner

    Shortly before my dad died, one of my daughters had a school assignment, I think from Julian Curtis, to ask your grandfather what he did in the war. It was the first time I heard these stories myself.

    After dad died, I found papers and photos to back these stories up.

    My mother, who is 94, had been a 1st Lieutenant and Army Psychologist. She is presently in a VA Hospital, recently in West Haven, and now in Florida at Bay Pines.

    Her experience with the VA has been very eye-opening as to whether a government-run health-care system should be avoided or longed-for.

    Before this post topic, I was thinking of recommending to you and your readers of all political bents, that for a meaningful holiday experience, some time volunteering at a VA facility for a few hours or days might profoundly alter their opinions about war, our present national policies towards the rest of the world, and the on-the-ground reality of government health care, which is excellent if you can get it.

  4. J

    Michalel that is great stuff

  5. great movie

    1967 or so…saw it as a kid at a drive in with my dad –lots of gunfire and tanks

  6. networthdeclining

    More that three times the number of Allied soldiers died on that one day (if the number is correct) than Coalition soldiers during the entire Iraq war to date.

  7. VDH’s the soul of battle is an excellent read.