Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas at Bastogne

It was 65 years ago this month, in a place called Bastogne, in Belgium. The bombed-out town was surrounded by brutal Waffen SS forces of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. Lauer was an artillery gunner with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division during that siege.
Bud Lauer, a Waterloo, IA resident recalls his experiences during the Battle of the Bulge.
"I told somebody the other day that was talking about this December weather, ‘Now you get 10 blankets and an old tarpaulin. We'll go out in the backyard, scrape a little snow away' and we'll sleep the night.'
Whenever I trudge through the winter weather here in Iowa, I try to imagine guys like Mr. Lauer and my father who fought through and survived that battle. I concluded long ago that I'm not worthy to carry their boots.
One room of Lauer's home is decorated with memorabilia of his service and experience at Bastogne. His "band of brothers" grows fewer in number with the passage of time. Reunions have shrunk from 200-300 old GIs to fewer than 10.

But Lauer remembers his comrades. Even now, on outings or even shopping at a mall where there is a pianist or musicians present, Lauer will request and old favorite tune: "Lili Marleen."

" I always ask for that song. Because I always thought that was a good song."
Go read more of Bud Lauer's memories at Waterloo G.I. recalls Christmas at Bastogne


straightarrow said...

It has passed my mind that damn few of us today are worthy of the benefits made possible to us by men such as your father, Bud Lauer, and many thousands of others. Many of them still there under the fields of sacrifice.

I admire, respect and love those men. They make me want to be better.

strandediniowa said...

"I admire, respect and love those men. They make me want to be better." - you nailed it once again, SA

I'm glad that newspapers will publish articles about these guys before they are gone. Young men who went to war, did their duty and came home.

I wish more had made it back to tell their stories.