December 16th is the 65th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Offensive. On December 16th, 1944, Nazi Germany, only months away from defeat, launched a surprise attack on Allied troops on the western front, hoping to drive a wedge in our line and ultimately wreck the Allied advance into Germany. The German attack, after bitter fighting, failed.
The Battle of the Bulge lasted a bit more than five weeks. The United States lost 19,000 men. We were a nation of about 138 million at the time. Today the United States has a population of approximately 305 million. Put in proportion to today’s population, the Battle of the Bulge cost the lives of more than 40,000 American soldiers. It was, for us, the costliest engagement of World War II.
I mention the casualty figures to emphasize what we endured in the Second World War. Obviously, every life is precious. To the family that receives a knock on the door from an officer bearing the worst news from Iraq or Afghanistan, there is no such thing as “low casualties.” But the next time you hear one of those whining anchors on CNN talking about our “war-weary” nation, think back to 1944, and the cost of just one five-week battle. The nation at Christmas in 1944 had a right to be war-weary. Unless we are part of a military family today, we have no such right.
URGENT AGENDA (www.urgentagenda.com)
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