Sunday, December 16, 2007

A day to remember...


I had a kind of rough day today, and I am completely worn out. I was up most of the night with my youngest who is nursing a wicked cold, so Ive only had a few hours of sleep. Earlier today found me waiting on a rental truck to become available, while I watched an angry man berate a cashier (no more than 19 or 20) in Home depot because she did not have an answer that was acceptable to him regarding a battery to a cordless drill. With a great deal of cursing, stomping around and with complete disregard to the two older women and my two sons in line he went off about her lack of intelligence and how bad the store sucked. I went from there, to moving two sofas by myself, switching one out for another. Later on, after countless attempts to clean the house, and being interrupted by both the boys whining and being mean to each other, I finally lost my temper when they tracked mud into the house all over my carpet and my kitchen. I yelled at both of them so loudly that they cried, and was so mad, I had to walk outside to collect my thoughts and reign my temper in......Then I remembered what day it was....

I don't usually like to cross post from my other blog, " Ostenfeld", but today is a day that is slowly but surely slipping away from the thoughts and minds of our fellow countrymen. Today marks the 63rd anniversary of The Ardennes Offensive, called Unternehmen: Wacht am Rhein (Operation Watch on the Rhine) by the German military, officially named the Battle of the Ardennes by the U.S. Army, and known to the general public as the Battle of the Bulge.


On this day German forces began an assault at 05:30, with a massive
artillery barrage on the Allied troops facing the Sixth SS Panzer Army. By 08:00 all three German armies attacked through the Ardennes. In the northern sector Dietrich’s Sixth SS Panzer Army assaulted the Losheim Gap and the Elsenborn Ridge in an effort to break through to Li├Ęge. In the center von Manteuffel’s Fifth Panzer Army attacked towards Bastogne and St. Vith, both road junctions of great strategic importance. In the south, Brandenberger’s Seventh Army pushed towards Luxembourg in their efforts to secure the flank from Allied attacks.

The attacks by the Sixth SS Panzer Army’s infantry units in the north fared badly because of unexpectedly fierce resistance by the U.S. 2nd and 99th Infantry Divisions at the Elsenborn Ridge, stalling their advance; this caused Dietrich to make the decision to commit his panzer forces early. Starting on 16 December, however, snowstorms engulfed parts of the Ardennes area. While having the desired effect of keeping the Allied aircraft grounded, the weather also proved troublesome for the Germans because poor road conditions hampered their advance. Poor traffic control led to massive traffic jams and fuel shortages in forward units.
(taken from Wikipedia)

My Uncle was there; he was in the Pennsylvania National guard, 28th infantry, they were sent to the Bastogne area for some R&R. At the time, it was a very quiet piece of land that did not seem to be in any danger ofbecomning a hot zone. The 28th needed a break after spending nearly 3 months in the Hurtgen Forest. They had been given the name "The Bloody Bucket" (for the red keystone on their shoulder patches) by the German troops for both their fighting abilities and the appalling losses they faced (upwards of 70% of the entire division). On the 16th of December, the 28th along with other divisions, held off the Sixth SS Panzer,for five days, allowing the 101st Airborne enough time to arrive and reinforce the town of Bastogne. Ever watched "Band of Brothers"? Sure they held of the Germans, but the 28th stopped them before the 101st ever got there. I've heard stories of the men, falling asleep in water filled foxholes, and having to smash the ice in the morning when they woke up with their rifle butts, just to get out and move around.

I think of my Uncle and his comrades, and what they went thru 63 years ago, and I am embarrassed by my attitude today. Its so sad, how we can think we are on the right path, finding our way thru all the avarice and narcissism in this world, only to realize that weve played right into it.

Lord, help me not only to be humble, but kind, patient, and appreciative of all that I have, and help me to sway away from the things in this world that make me proud, angry and indignant. Truly, I have been gifted with an abundance of things that even now, I cannot fully appreciate.


1 comment:

Annie said...

We always need to be vigilant and since that word "always" is one of those not possible words, that's when we get tripped up. I'm betting that you went back in, hugged the kids and apologied. I know I sure did, plenty of times, way back when.