December 17, 2019
“The brave soldiers who fought in this brutal battle saved the free world. Every soldier was a hero, and every soldier has a story to tell. My father, Corporal John Barrasso, was one of those heroes.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the Senate floor about his recent trip to Belgium for the 75th anniversary commemoration ceremonies for the Battle of the Bulge.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor today to mark the 75th anniversary of the epic Battle of the Bulge.
“It was an incredible battle in World War II.
“To quote British Prime Minister Winston Churchill this was ‘the greatest American battle of the war.’
“So it was an incredible privilege to join veterans this past weekend at the 75th anniversary ceremonies in Luxemburg and Belgium.
“It was 75 years ago, so the youngest among these veterans, if they went into the service at the age of 18, would, as of today, be 93 years old.
“The World War II Memorial in Washington pays special tribute to the 16 million Americans who served, especially to the 400,000 who gave their lives for our freedom.
“There are two flag poles at that memorial. And at the base of these flag poles are the words: ‘Americans came to liberate, not to conquer, to restore freedom and to end tyranny.’
“In winning World War II, this generation gave their all to ensure that we continue to live in freedom.
“These heroes didn’t return home until the war was over.
“This weekend, we recognized a number of veterans who are still with us who helped win the pivotal Battle of the Bulge.
“For those soldiers, the brutal heat of battle came in the bitter cold of winter. They battled the elements: wet snow, intense cold and freezing fog.
“Every one of them suffered from hypothermia, trench foot, frostbite and illness.
“They shivered in their foxholes. They shivered from frigid conditions. Maybe some from fright.
“I speak with deep appreciation and admiration and awe for their efforts, their excellence and their remarkable endurance.
“The battle began on December 16th of 1944. That’s when Germany launched a surprise attack on the Allied Forces in Europe.
“The Allied troops were generally outnumbered by more than three to one.
“And in addition to the harsh weather, they faced treacherous terrain.
“Still, General Dwight David Eisenhower spoke with confidence. He said: ‘United in this determination and with unshakable faith in the cause for which we fight.’ He said: ‘We will, with God’s help, go forward to our greatest victory.’
“The Germans sought to divide and destroy the Allies. But it was the Allies who ultimately crushed the German army.
“The Bulge was one of the most punishing battles in the history of the U.S. military. Most of the 650,000 Allied troops were Americans.
“From December 16 of 1944, to January 29 of 1945, the Americans suffered 75,482 casualties – 8,407 were killed.
“The brave soldiers who fought in this brutal battle saved the free world.
“Every soldier was a hero, and every soldier has a story to tell.
“My father, Corporal John Barrasso, was one of those heroes.
“He reported to duty to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 1941, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
“He didn’t return home for four years.
“He was a gun crewman in the 108th Field Artillery Battalion of the 28th Infantry Division.
“He wore on his arm the red keystone patch. The Germans called the patch the Bloody Bucket, referring to the ferocity of its fighters.
“He was one who landed on Omaha Beach. But he was always clear to point out that he wasn’t there on that very first day. That’s how humble these men are.
“He landed in Normandy in July of 1944. They beat back the German army through France and into the fiercest battle of them all.
“In combat for nearly 200 days, they fought against 45 of the 90 German army divisions.
“He was awarded five Bronze Stars.
“I have with me my dad’s dog tags from World War II, along with his military prayer book.
“On the front it says ‘my military missal.’ On the back cover, there’s a Rosary. And there was a Cross, as well as the beads.
“You could work your way through the beads with your hands in your pocket, in a foxhole, praying the Rosary, as many of them did. These beads are very well worn.
“My father was a man who always put his family, his faith and his country first.
“So on this, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, we honor the heroic and the selfless efforts of our Allied Forces.
“Their triumph over evil speaks to their core strengths of courage, character and commitment.
“We will forever give thanks for all of our World War II veterans and their families.
“We will never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“And we will always remember the valiant Allied Forces who saved the free world.
“In closing, I want to wish everyone, especially our dedicated men and women in uniform, a very Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year.”