The Bastogne Mardasson Memorial

by Scott Manning on May 8, 2013

While in Luxembourg, a Belgian coworker harassed me, “You’re an American and you’ve never visited Bastogne?”

It was true. I was visiting the Low Countries for the third time and I had zero plans to visit the famous town from the Battle of the Bulge.

To redeem myself, I showed him a picture of the monument to the battle at the Valley Forge Military Academy, “Do you know what this is?” “Yes,” he responded, “it is the Battle of the Bulge Monument in Radnor, Pennsylvania. It was the first thing I visited when I went to America.” Now I felt silly and I had to visit Bastogne. The follow photos and description come from my visit to the site on April 19, 2013.

After scoping out the site on the Internet, I was on my way.


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When I arrived at Bastogne, my GPS eventually sent me on a dirt road. There were no signs along the way and the road steadily became worse. I kept feeling as though I was heading toward a dead end.

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Then suddenly there was an M10 tank destroyer.

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As I approached the larger memorial, there was a smaller monument featuring an eagle crouching over a military helmet.

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A closer look revealed that it was dedicated to the 101st Airborne. Immediately, I recalled all the stories my dad told me about the unit as a kid (and still as an adult!). I recalled the accounts of their deeds from Hollywood depictions in Patton and Band of Brothers, how the only response the commanding general gave to German demands for surrender was “NUTS!” This is the stuff of legends in America. The dedication is enough to humble any American.

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The Mardasson monument, named after the hill it sits atop, is a massive, star-shaped structure measuring over 13 yards high and nearly 34 yards in diameter.

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The first thing that became apparent was the name of each of the 50 states wrapped around the top of the monument.

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They could not fit them all on the outside, so the rest of the states appear in the inner circle.

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The outer columns list every major American unit that fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

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The inner columns tell the story of the battle in detail.

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At the center of the entire monument is a plague in Latin, which translates to “THE PEOPLE OF BELGIUM REMEMBER THEIR AMERICAN LIBERATORS 4 7 1946”.

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Any American visiting the Low Countries should make the excursion to Bastogne and see this monument.

Nearby was the crypt, which I will feature in a future post.

Unfortunately, the nearby museum is under construction for a grand reopening for next year’s 70th anniversary of the battle. However, it gives me a great excuse to visit Bastogne again.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 steven cahalane May 8, 2013 at 11:39 PM

Thank you, so little is known, by all Americans.

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2 Cheryl I. Oconnor May 10, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Von Rundstedt set up his operational headquarters near Limburg , close enough for the generals and Panzer Corps commanders who were to lead the attack to visit Adlerhorst on 11 December, travelling there in an SS-operated bus convoy. With the castle acting as overflow accommodation, the main party was settled into the Adlerhorst’s Haus 2 command bunker, including Gen. Alfred Jodl , Gen. Wilhelm Keitel , Gen. Blumentritt , von Manteuffel and S.S. Gen. Sepp Dietrich . Von Rundstedt then ran through the battle plan, while Hitler made one of his stoic speeches.

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3 Katy Wynn May 11, 2013 at 5:56 PM

This will be another most memorable day, to tribute to these tousands of Heroes who offered their lives for our freedom. We would drive straight to Bastogne and start this journey by visiting the Historical WW II Museum and the Memorial “ The Mardasson “ erected by the Belgians remembering the American Liberators. We will also visit the Gen. G. Patton Monument, and Gen. McAuliffe.From Bastogne, we will get to Luxembourg city for a little discovering, before visiting The American Cemetery in Luxembourg. Later, we will aim Ettelbruck to visit the Gen. G. Patton Memorial. It would always be possible to see some other Memorials you would have in mind, depending the timing.

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4 Wiley D. Lyons May 14, 2013 at 12:40 PM

The Germans eventually circled Bastogne, thinking they would capture the city and move quickly to Antwerp. A German commander sent a note to American General McAuliffe in Bastogne demanding his surrender. He replied with one word: “Nuts!” (for a full account of this incident, see this post ). Today, Le Nut’s is a restaurant (below) on the town square and General McAuliffe is honored with a bust positioned next to a tank, also in the town square.

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5 Christopher Shaw June 24, 2013 at 12:27 PM

If you can plan a trip to Bastogne in December, they have a memorial walk/hike every year. Well worth the trip in the cold – reenactors from throughout Europe are there and setup everywhere. Walking and talking with them you can get a real sense of the gratitude that is still felt by the local populace for what the allies did almost 70 years ago. You walk the perimeter of the defensive line setup by the 101st. Very worth while especially for a Military Historian.

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6 Manniette Manuel August 10, 2013 at 10:18 AM

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