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World War II vets return to Battle of the Bulge sites

MADISON – Veterans of World War II met a heroes’ welcome at Huntsville International Airport on Sept. 14 after touring Belgium in a reemergence of the Battle of the Bulge.

Forever Young Senior Veterans of Alabama planned and funded the “Trip of Honor’ to return to the battle sites.

Approximately 100 family members and well-wishers cheered patriotically and waved American flags as the veterans of the Greatest Generation arrived for their welcome-home gathering.

Alabama veterans taking the Trip of Honor were Jim Feezel, Decatur; Charles Henry, Huntsville; Earl Miller, Harvest; Harold McMurran, New Market; George Mills, Decatur; and Major Wooten, Madison. McMurran and Wooten are members of Madison American Legion, Post 229.

Other military personnel who traveled to Belgium were Jack Appel, Boca Raton, Fla.; Ed Burke, Cincinnati, Ohio; Tim Kiniry, Vineland, N.J.; Merrill Phillips, Germantown, Tenn.; K. T. Robbins, Olive Branch, Miss.; Bob Rowlands, Boca Raton; Irwin Rumler, Memphis, Tenn.; and Jack Walker, Memphis.

“During their eight-day trek, they traveled in the footsteps of combatants of the Bulge who survived foxholes in the battlefields in the Ardennes Forest,” Larry Vannoy said. Vannoy is Post Commander of Madison American Legion, Post 229.

On the Trip of Honor, the entourage toured several sites related to the Battle of the Bulge:

* The City of Bastogne, Belgium — Where local citizens met and honored the American veterans.

* Dachau Concentration Camp — American forces liberated this camp.

* Wereth Eleven Monument — This structure was erected near Wereth, Belgium in memory of 11 African-American artillerymen murdered by Waffen SS.

* Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery — Where thousands of comrades were laid to rest.

“The American veterans were swarmed by other visitors who wanted to meet living history,” Vannoy said.

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