The Battle of the Bulge
PATRIOTISM n John Thrash of Decatur, a member of the Mississippi chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, gazes at a flag presented to him in 1999. The flag was flown over the state capitol in Thrash's honor, at Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's request, on Veterans' Day, Nov. 11, 1999. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star.
Sir Winston Churchill, prime minister of Great Britain during World War II, called the Battle of the Bulge "the greatest American battle of World War II."
The Battle of the Bulge was Germany's last offensive stand. More than a million men fought in this battle including 600,000 Germans, 500,000 Americans and 55,000 British, according to historical records. It was fought in the dead cold of winter and through Christmas. At the conclusion of the Allies' victory, the casualties were as follows: 81,000 U.S. with 19,000 killed; 1,400 British with 200 killed; and 100,000 Germans killed, wounded or captured.
By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
March 17, 2001
In what those involved say will be an emotional ceremony, the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge Memorial will be unveiled and dedicated today at Camp Shelby's Armed Forces Museum.
Located south of Hattiesburg, Camp Shelby became the site for the seven-foot-tall, five-foot-wide marble monument. It honors those who fought in the battle, which started Dec. 16, 1944, and ended Jan. 28, 1945 with an American-led victory for the Allies.
Thrash is helping organize the ceremony which begins at 2 p.m. He said organization members projected an attendance of 2,000, but now he thinks they underestimated.
The monument was estimated to cost between $15,000 and $20,000, and Thrash said it has.
Thrash said members of the Mississippi chapter formed a committee to get the monument constructed and erected.
Thrash said the monument, which will call the courtyard of the museum home, is "world-class."
Distinguished guests scheduled for the event include Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering and Miss Mississippi Christy May. The public is invited to attend and Thrash said bring a lawn chair because seating is limited.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.