By Chris Price, The Barnstable Patriot Sept. 12, 1996The veterans of the Bulge held their 16th annual reunion this week, which was high-lighted by the unveiling of a monument on the Hyannis Town Green last Tuesday.
"In the place where we have our reunions, we like to leave our mark," said National President Stanley Wojtusik. "This is the first monument dedicated to the veterans of the Battle of the Bulge in all of New England. This is a memorial to the veterans, as well as our friends, who never returned home with us."
The monument is a simple headstone, commemorating ill those who fought and were killed at the Battle of the Bulge, military action which lasted from December, 1944 through February, 1945. According to Robert McAuliffe, President of the Massachusetts Chapter, the idea for the monument's location came out of Wojtusik's love of the area.
"We were attending a function together in Fort Meade, Maryland, and we were talking about a monument in the New England area," McAuliffe said. "He said 'I would love to put it on Cape Cod. I've been coming up here for years, and think it would be the best place.' "
After a debate between Bourne and Hyannis, McAuliffe said that they settled on the Barnstable Town Green.
"We were afraid that if the monument was placed in Bourne Cemetery, nobody would see it but other Vets," McAuliffe said. "Warren Rutherford then told us that it would okay to have it here on the Hyannis Town Green, and I think it's a great place. There is all sorts of foot traffic, and the whole world can see it."
Those who served at the Battle of the Bulge are held in high regard by Europeans who refer to the WWII servicemen not as "veterans," but as 'Liberators, a point of pride for many. They have 11,000 members nationally, and, according to Wojtusik, their membership is continuing to grow. "We're growing daily," said Wojtusik. "Since we've been here, we've had 256 new members join our ranks from this area alone. It's very encouraging."
Local veterans are happy that they chose Cape Cod. "It's a great thing," said veteran Valrey Boudreau of Dennisport. "This is a wonderful area, and I'm glad that we can be a part of this."
Also attending the ceremony was Mrs. James M. Gavin, the widow of General James M. Gavin, Commanding General in World War II. Gavin was a summer resident of Osterville and was honored two years ago with a memorial in that village.
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