The Register Sept. 12, 1996 By Matt Gaffron
Spectators and Veterans gather around a memorial to the soldiers
involved in the Battle of the Bulge dedicated Tuesday Morning
at the Hyannis Village Green.
Jean Gavin, widow of Gen. James
Gavin, the commander of the 82nd
Airborne Unit, speaks to the crowd
gathered for the dedication.
World War II veterans showed their
reverance as a bugle is played at the
dedication of the Battle of the Bulge
| BARNSTABLE-The sunny, warm summer
morning in Hyannis Tuesday was a sharp contrast to the cold, snowy day in
Belgium during the winter of 1944.
It was more than 50 years ago when Allied troops had landed and were making their way toward Berlin and the heart of the German war machine. The Axis powers, and the German army in particular, were on the ropes, fighting desperately.
It would all come to a head in one of the most violent and, as it turned out, one of the most important battles of the war, the Battle of the Bulge.
That time in history was easily recalled Tuesday during a celebration in Hyannis to mark the Allied victory in that giant battle, which is considered by many historians, as the last failed effort by Hitler's armies to retain a European stronghold. More than 400 veterans descended on the Hyannis Village Green to help dedicate a memorial to their fallen comrades and to their eventual victory on that cold December day. According to Stanley Wajitusik, an organizer of the event, it was a larger turnout than what had been anticipated.
"It turned out to be more than what we expected," Mr. Wajitusik said. "There are about 409 people registered for the reunion."
Mr. Wajitusik said some 99 percent of the veterans present had actually been at the famous, battle, land had come out to see the only memorial in New England dedicated to the decisive skirmish.
"This is the only memorial dedicated to the veterans of the battle in New England," Mr Wajitusik said. He said he had chosen Hyannis as the site of the memorial because he had frequented the area for more than 40 years, though his home remains in Philadelphia.
The ceremonies included speakers, a bagpipe serenade, and, as a highlight, the widow of General James Gavin, the commander of the 82nd Airborne Unit, who actually dedicated the memorial.
The memorial itself, a relatively unassuming plaque, still stands in the village square. It reads: "Dedicated to the gallant and victorious men and women who participated in the Battle of the Bulge, the greatest battle ever fought by the United States Army in Belgium and Luxembourg during World War II, 16 December 1944 thru 25 January 1945. The veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, assembled here on 10 September 1996, placed this tablet to commemorate this ever-famous American victory."
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