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Bastogne Rolls Out Red Carpet for Battle of Bulge Vets
BASTOGNE, Belgium, Dec. 18, 2004 – A carnival-like atmosphere here today celebrated the U.S. Army's victory over Nazi oppressors 60 years ago. It contrasted sharply with a solemn ceremony at the Mardasson Memorial overlooking the city honoring the more than 76,000 U.S. soldiers killed, wounded or missing in action during the Battle of the Bulge. Downtown Bastogne was a buzz with excitement and activity honoring the 60th anniversary of the battle. Residents rolled out the red carpet for returning Battle of the Bulge veterans -- and anyone who appeared to be American.
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Answering the Ultimatum
What may have been the biggest morale booster came with a reverse twist the enemy "ultimatum." About noon four Germans under a white flag entered the lines of the 2d Battalion, 327th. The terms of the announcement they carried were simple: "the honorable surrender of the encircled town," this to be accomplished in two hours on threat of "annihilation" by the massed fires of the German artillery. The rest of the story has become legend: how General McAuliffe disdainfully answered "Nuts!"; and how Colonel Harper, commander of the 327th, hard pressed to translate the idiom, compromised on "Go to Hell!"
A lone decorated headstone stands beside 5,076 other headstones containing the remains of American World War II military veterans at the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg. . U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ted Banks.
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Flowers honor Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, who replied "Nuts!" when ordered by Adolph Hitler to surrender here 60 years ago.
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U.S. Army Battle of the Bulge Presentation

More Information

World War II 60th Anniversary Committee Air Power in the Battle of the Bulge German Counteroffensive in the Ardennes
The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge Belgian Embassy Honors Veterans 60 Years Later, Europe Remembers
Survivors Remember 60-Year-Old Tragedy
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