ABILENE, Kan. – Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge-Kansas Chapter will commemorate the Battle of the Bulge 70th anniversary on Jan. 24 in partnership with the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene. Four new exhibit supplements to World War II Remembered: Leaders, Battles & Heroes will be unveiled in the Museum.
A granite bench will be dedicated to Battle of the Bulge and other World War II veterans. The bench will be located in the center of the Eisenhower Presidential Library campus across from the Eisenhower statue. The public is invited to attend; pre-registration is required only for lunch.
The Battle of the Bulge, from Dec. 16, 1944, to Jan. 25, 1945, was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the U.S. during WWII. The Battle of the Bulge was a German counteroffensive campaign launched in the dense Ardennes forest at the onset of winter meant to turn the tide in favor of the Axis. Ultimately, it served as a catalyst to ending the war in Europe and leading to the liberation of Nazi death camps.
Mark Collins, president of Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge-Kansas Chapter, said a large attendance is expected because of the location change from Manhattan to Abilene and the bench dedication ceremony.
The schedule (all open to the public):
■ 8:30 a.m., Registration at the Visitors Center. A group photograph of Battle of the Bulge veterans will be taken at 9:30 a.m., followed by photos of all WWII veterans. There is no charge for the photos.
■ 9:45 a.m., Call to order, invocation, presentation of colors, flag salute and greeting by Karl Weissenbach, director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
■ 10 a.m., Battle of the Bulge Veterans Panel moderated by Robert Smith, director of Museums at Fort Riley. Panelists include Wallace Jeffrey, Marvin Ledy, Jim Sharp, and Julian Siebert.
■ 12:00 p.m., “In Memoriam” ceremony
■ 12:15 p.m., Memorial bench dedication
■ 12:30 p.m., Buffet lunch including roast beef, turkey, side dishes and dessert. The meal is free to Battle of the Bulge veterans. (Meal reservations required by Jan. 21.)
■ 1:30 p.m., Free time to visit with the veterans; watch “American Experience: Battle of the Bulge” and “Secrets of World War II: Secrets of the Battle of the Bulge” documentaries; or visit the Eisenhower Presidential Library exhibits. Admission to the museum is free to WWII veterans and their spouses.
New exhibit supplements to the major exhibit, World War II Remembered: Leaders, Battles & Heroes, will be unveiled in the Museum and continue on display through 2015. The exhibit supplements include:
- Battle of the Bulge/Rhineland Campaign
- The Berlin Strategic Offensive
- Operation Detachment (Iwo Jima)
- Operation Iceberg (Okinawa)
The cost of the meal is $15 per person. Attendees are asked to call the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge-Kansas Chapter at (785) 340-8262, email KSVBoB@KSVBoB.org or register online at www.KSVBoB.org. Payment required by Jan. 21. Checks can be sent to Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, P.O. Box 8556, Topeka, 66608-0566. Payment by credit card can be made online at www.KSVBoB.org.