I wandered around Europe after college and wound up in Bastogne, Belgium. It was here in 1944 during the famed Battle of the Bulge that Germans demanded that the surrounded Americans surrender. General Anthony McAuliffe, acting commander of the 101st, looked at the demand and replied “Nuts!” His staff typed up that answer and delivered it to the Nazis. There would be no surrender.
That battle, one of the longest, fiercest and most important of WWII (and stunningly portrayed in the 1949 film Battleground) is being commemorated at the Battle of the Bulge Anniversary Celebration at the Liberty Bell Memorial Museum in Melbourne on December 16th at The event is being presented by VFW Post 4206 and Honor America which was created to “reawaken in our citizens, through non-partisan, non-political and non-sectarian efforts and activities, a sense of pride in American traditions, ideals and accomplishments, and devotion and admiration for our country.”
Following the ceremony, visit the museum (it’s free) to see the Rotunda of American History, Freedom Hall and the American Heritage Theater. Call 321/727-1776 for more information.
By the way, I’ve heard that veterans of World War II are passing away at a rate of 5,000 per day. This event will give you a chance to meet some of these soldiers in person, reflect on those who perished and just say thanks.