• Last modified 6811 days ago (Oct. 27, 2005)
  • Return to Checkerboard

99 ers and friends take trip to Europe years ago

Two busloads, 63 people, visited Europe in May to observe the 60th anniversary of VE Day and visit the Ardennes.

Fifteen were 99th Infantry Division veterans on a Battlefield Tour, accompanied by relatives and friends.

At Remagen they observed the 60th anniversary by participating in an elaborate ceremony sponsored by Germans, with Hans Peter Kurten, former mayor of Remagen, in charge.

A large delegation of soldiers from the American First Infantry Division attended, as well as diplomats, political figures, and historians.

Speakers included German officials, American businessman and economist Andrew Denison, many other dignitaries, and Checkerboard editor Bill Meyer.

Meyer introduced himself as the lowest ranking soldier and only fully certified non-hero of World War II.

He reflected on his unit crossing the Rhine and later how he witnessed the collapse of the bridge, taking the lives of 28 engineers and MPs who bravely became casualties.

Meyer briefly discussed world events since WWII and asked for greater support for America's mission in Iraq.

He pointed out that what America is doing in Iraq, is much like the action of heroes in combat — "it had to be done, and we're doing it."

The 99th Battlefield Tour group went on to Belgium to visit foxholes in the Ardennes, led by Belgian friends "the Diggers."

They also visited the Remember Museum of Mathilde and Marcel Schmetz where they enjoy a bountiful meal and refreshments including Mathilde's apple wine.