Members of the Grand Ducal Family were out and about today to pay their respects to those who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, which started exactly 70 years ago today. The battle was the last major German offensive launched against the Allied Forces towards the end of World War II. Fought in the Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium, France and Luxembourg on the Western Front, it was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States during the course of the Second World War.
|Photo: Marc Schmit / Cour grand ducale|
About one and a half hours later, the Grand Duke attended a national commemorative ceremony at the American Cemetery in Luxembourg-Hamm. Other guests at the ceremony included the Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, the President of the Chambre des Députés, Mars Di Bartolomeo, other government members, as well as the Luxembourg Army Chief of Staff Romain Mancinelli, U.S. Ambassador Robert Mandell, representatives of U.S. armed forces and both American and German veterans that fought in Luxembourg during the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944 and 1945.
|Photo: SIP / Luc Deflorenne|
The American delegation then also laid a wreath of flowers, followed by a contingent of American veterans laying 70 roses in honour of the soldiers who died in combat for Luxembourg together with students of the Lycée Technique de Bonnevoie. The ceremony closed with a minute of silence, followed by a three-fire gun salute and the playing of the U.S. and Luxembourgish anthems.
|Photo: Cheryl Cadamuro / Wort.lu|
Wiltz, located in the north-west of the Grand Duchy, probably was the Luxembourgish town to suffer most during the Second World War and a major battleground during the Battle of the Bulge. When German soldiers of the Wehrmacht overran the north of the Grand Duchy on December 16, 1944, the American forces were trapped in the encircled town but managed to hold into until the renewed liberation of the area.