VBOB_News

December Bulge Commemoration, DC

Remembrance and Commemoration of the 
72nd Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge

December 14-16, 2016 • Metropolitan Washington, DC

Many of our members and supporters were able to attend the annual December Bulge remembrance event, hosted by the Battle of the Bulge Historical Foundation. Below are some highlights. We hope to see you there in December 2017!

Richard Whalen, 3816 QM GAS SUP CO, lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at the December Commemoration.
Richard Whalen, 3816 QM GAS SUP CO, lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at the December Commemoration.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

On Friday, December 16, 2016, my family and I had a chance of a lifetime. We witnessed our father, grandfather and uncle, Richard Whalen, lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. We were in Washington, DC to attend the Remembrance and Commemoration of the 72nd Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. We had 31 family members present, and many traveled quite a distance to be part of this memorable occasion. He felt honored to have this experience and we were so proud to be part of it. Along with the experience of laying the wreath, we also visited the Belgian and Luxembourg Ambassador’s Residences and were treated royally. We visited the WWII Memorial and the Holocaust Museum as part of this event. We will hold in our memory how proud Dad was to have this opportunity.

(Richard enlisted in the US Army in Feb, 1943 at the age of 17. After basic training in Camp Barkley, in Abilene, TX, he sailed to England on the Aquitania. His first encounter in WWII was on Omaha Beach on D-Day + 10. His initial unit was 201st QM Co, Co D and their name changed to 3816 GS (Gas Supply) Co. During the war, he was in France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany and Austria and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Col Whalen retired in 1977 after 37 years of service which included the Michigan National Guard and Army Active duty.)

—Submitted by Mary Towe, daughter of Col. Richard Whalen

 

Visits to the Belgian and Luxembourg 
Ambassadors’ Residences

During the Remembrance and Commemoration of the 72nd Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge Dec 14 – 16, 2016, we were guests at the residence of the Ambassador of the King of Belgium to the US, Dirk Wouters, and his lovely wife Katrin Van Bragt. Along with our Veterans, Marcel and Mathilde (“M & M”) Schmetz were honored that evening. M & M made the journey from Thimister-Clermont, Belgium to attend the Commemoration. Many of us know M & M because of their museum, the “Remember Museum 39-45” (website: www.remembermuseum.be) Also in attendance were Johan Andries, Belgian Defense 
Attaché to US and Canada; Johan Verbeke, Ambassador from Belgium; and Robert McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

We were also guests at the Residence of the Ambassador of Luxembourg, Ms. Sylvie Lucas. She and our new Consul General of Luxembourg, Stan Myck, greeted all of us. We were honored to be guests of our Ambassadors.      

—Submitted by Doris Davis

Photos of the Belgium event, taken by Robert Turtil, Public Affairs Specialist of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC., can be viewed on the VA Flicker Page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/veteransaffairs/albums/72157676654934610