On this day in 1944, citizens all across the United States were holding their collective breath. The war in Europe was not over but it seemed to be winding down. The allies were at ease, sort of. It was winter and Germany had not launched a winter military campaign since Frederick the Great in the mid-1700s. On December 16th, that all changed. Hitler had quietly gathered his forces and sent them plunging though the Ardennes Forest to carry the fight to the allies. It worked and what was to become known as the Battle of the Bulge was on. The weather was cloudy and miserable and that made it impossible for allied air power to protect ground troops. Many American ground troops still had summer uniforms and were suffering. European winters are mild by Midwest standards but the winter of 1944-1945 was the worst in years. Americans knew our troops were in trouble. The town of Bastogne, Belgium was held by the 101st Airborne but they were surrounded, outgunned and running low on everything but courage. Bastogne was important because it was a crossroads for the major roads in the area.
On Christmas Day, the American 2nd Armored Division and the 29th British Brigade were able to drop the German advance. General Patton thought the Germans might launch such an attack and was ready. Although far south of the battle, he wheeled the Entire 3rd Army ninety degrees north and pushed through some of the worst possible conditions. Patton moved the 3rd Army 30 miles a day and on December 26th, 75 years ago today, he broke the back of the German advance and relieved Bastogne.
These were also terrible days for the people at home. Families generally knew where their sons and daughters were. News from the European Front filled the newspapers and the radio broadcasts. In those days, people were notified by telegram if their sons or daughters were casualties. Every family peeked out their window with dread hoping someone from the telegraph office would not come down their street and if they did, they were hoping they would not stop at their house. Women, families and neighbors supported each other. If bad news came to one house everyone offered their support. My mother described the fear she felt when my father’s telegraph came. She was relieved that he was wounded and not killed. Many times, the telegraph operators in towns like Chatsworth would alert ministers, priests or other family members and advise them to go to a certain house. That was an advantage in a small town like Chatsworth.
There were 77,000 American casualties in the Battle of the Bulge. My wife’s uncle, Delmer Henson, was in the battle. The artillery fire was so fierce that some soldiers were never found. Delmer Henson was one of those. His mother never accepted the fact and watched for him to come up the sidewalk every day until she died. Local ISRA member, John Barnhart, became General Patton’s driver after the Battle of the Bulge and stayed with him until the end of the war. WWII touched everyone in the United States and these were just two examples.
The Germans had expended everything by January 25th, 1945, and the German army began to collapse. It was still tough. The Germans were fighting for their homeland. Many older men and young boys were doing the fighting. In the closing days of the war, Germans were inflicting 1.7 casualties for every one they received.
This is the last Thursday Bulletin of 2019. It is a good time of the year for all of us to think back and recall the relatives, friends and good times from the past. It is important we share those stories with others. Our own memories, as well as the memories of others, comfort us all because they carry us back to a time when the world seemed to know what it was doing. Now we seem to be thrust into a time when there are people who are trying to tear the county apart by inflicting premeditated chaos on us all. We have been through times like these before but we, as a nation, came out alright because sensible heads prevailed. This will happen this time if we all work on it.
Looking forward to 2020, it is obvious that we are going to see the continued rise of the Gun Sanctuary movement. There is no question that the goal of the left is the confiscation of private firearms and the destruction of the Second Amendment. There are those gun owners who want to appease the left-wing anti-gun movement. Appeasement has been described by Winston Churchill as surviving by feeding everyone else to the crocodile which only ensures that you will be the last one eaten but, never the less, you will be eaten. An example of some willing to appease the left is to take Virginia Governor Northam’s offer to allow those who own AR15s to register them and keep them. No more could be sold, manufactured or possessed. That just delays the inevitable. A few years ago, I actually got calls from gun owners who were willing to do that in Illinois. The answer Is NO. More gun owners must join in the fight. Looking ahead, it should be the goal of every gun owner to recruit more gun owners into the fight.
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The Well Armed Woman
Saturday, December 28, 2019
ISRA Air Rifle League
Tuesdays – 5:00-8:00
ISRA International Air Pistol League
Every other Wednesday – 5:00-8:00
Range Work Day
Saturday, January 4, 2020
Glock Armorer’s Course
Thursday, January 9, 2020
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Gun & Trade Shows
Crown Point Gun Show
Crown Point, IN – Lake County Fairgrounds
Dates: December 28-29, 2019
Hours: Saturday: 9:00-5:00
Kankakee Gun & Sportsman’s Show
Kankakee County Fairgrounds
Dates: January 4-5, 2020
Hours: Saturday: 8:00-3:00
Kane County Sportsman’s Show
Kane County Fairgrounds
Date: January 12, 2020
Hours: Sunday: 7:30-1:30
Peoria Gun & Knife Show
Dates: January 18-19, 2020
Hours: Saturday: 9:00-5:00