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75th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE in STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK – December 16, 2019

Published Monday December 16 2019

Hon. Ms. Jeanne Crauser, Consul General of Luxembourg and H.E. Mr. Frank Geerkens, Consul General of Belgium expressed their Nation’s gratitude to the Americans who fought the deadliest battle in WWII during a Wreath Laying Ceremony presided by William A. Abell, President of Chapter 52 and Angela M. Fazio, National Officer of The Battle of the Bulge Association in presence of Veterans Carmine “Buzz” Burzamato and Joe Reilly, and held at Wolfes Pond Park, Chester Ave / Cornelia Avenue – Staten Island, NY.

About the Memorial site:

Seven of the Chapter 52 Memorial Plaza’s cobblestone rings at the Wolfe’s Pond Park, Staten Island, NY were donated by the Governments of Luxembourg and Belgium.

Planned in 1998 by the Parks Department and Councilman Stephen Fiala, the Memorial was designed by Staten Island architect Anthony Moody, a decorated first lieutenant who fought with the 28th Infantry Division in the Battle of the Bulge. The Memorial was unveiled at the 57th Anniversary of the first day of the WWII battle.

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WW II veterans, both 97, attend 75th Battle of the Bulge anniversary

Posted Dec 16, 2019

Battle of the Bulge ceremony 2019

By Paul Liotta | pliotta@siadvance.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A Prince’s Bay ceremony on Monday marked the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of America’s deadliest battle in World War II, which turned back Adolf Hitler’s last effort to turn the tide of the war.

Two of the borough’s few remaining World War II veterans, who both served in the Battle of the Bulge, joined with family and supporters at Wolfe’s Pond Park around 11 a.m. for the ceremony commemorating the battle’s outbreak.

Veterans Carmine Burzumato and Joe Reilly, both 97, didn’t share much about their experiences during the battle, but both remembered the bitter cold they and thousands of other soldiers faced in the campaign that lasted more than a month.

“It was a horrible 41 days in hell,” Burzumato said of his time fighting the battle, which started in the densely-forested Ardennes region that encompasses parts of Belgium, France, and Luxembourg.

Nazi Germany gained an early advantage over the Allied forces -- comprised mostly of Americans -- after a surprise attack in the early morning hours of Dec. 16, 1944.

More than 200,000 German soldiers attacked the center of the Allied front a little over six months after the Allies had landed in France on D-Day. German forces pushed the center of the line so far back that its bulging appearance on maps gave the battle its common name. It is also referred to as the Ardennes Counteroffensive.

The forces were able to hold off the German counteroffensive, which had the goal of breaking the allied front in two. Once reinforcements arrived, the Allies were able to push back and turn the tide of the battle by Christmas.

FOREIGN OFFICIALS ATTEND

The Consul General of Belgium in New York, Frank Geerkens, and the Consul General of Luxembourg in New York, Jeanne Crauser, attended Monday’s event to express their nations’ gratitude for the Americans who fought in the battle.

“The people of Luxembourg will always be grateful to the American people and to the American soldiers who fought to defend their freedoms,” Crauser said.

After the Allied forces turned back the Nazis, the Battle of the Bulge carried on for a little over a month before coming to an end Jan. 28, 1945. Following the battle that killed around 19,000 Americans, the Allied forces were able to make their way into Germany bringing the war in Europe to an end within five months.

Monday’s event was organized by the Staten Island chapter of Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. Its president, William Abell, expressed his gratitude, but noted the dwindling number of World War II veterans.

“We only have two veterans here (at the event),” Abell, whose father served in the Battle of the Bulge and son just returned from Afghanistan, said. “We were a group of maybe 75 at one time. Now we’re down to two or three or four guys, so that hurts.”

Attendees included representatives from local veterans’ organizations, and a group of about 50 students from St. Adalbert’s School in Elm Park.

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