Thought Uncle Jim could have crossed this bridge
Today is a day we have been looking forward to since we planned this trip. We went through the area of Germany and France where Uncle Jim saved a man’s life and was injured himself. We spent a lot of time researching this area near the Rhine River at the border of France and Germany.
As we drive along I watched the road signs trying to see any of the towns we knew Uncle Jim and his unit had been. We saw several of them and I tried to get pictures of the road signs - not easy to do through bus windows. I took several pictures of the area just so we would know how the area looked. We hoped to see the Moder River but learned it was a small tributary of the Rhine and would be about 12 miles northeast of where we would be traveling. I did see a sign to Mertzwiller - the town nearest to where Uncle Jim was injured. As we looked at old buildings and fields we knew that Uncle Jim had been there 65 years ago.
Our first stop was a little village of Saverne, France. It was a quaint
As Uncle Jim might have seen
little town and I enjoyed walking the streets and looking in the shops. I found a grocery store and it was interesting to look at the items on the shelf and try to figure them out. I did buy bananas and M&M’s. Right down the street was a pastry shop and I bought pastries for our lunch as we were not going to have a lunch stop in order to save time. Larry also bought pastries and a sandwich, so we were set. I included some pics of Saverne on the blog.
From Saverne we traveled on to St. Avold and the Lorraine American Cemetery. This is the largest American World War II cemetery in Europe. Over 10000 soldiers are buried there. We learned that many from the 36th Infantry were buried here. Had Uncle Jim died, he would be among them.
One thing we have been impressed with is the Battlefield Cemetery and Monument Commission. They take wonderful care of the cemeteries in Europe and other countries. It is so difficult to stand among the white crosses and not feel some emotion at the lives that were lost because of one man and his ideas.
American Cemetery at St. Avold
next stop was at Fort Hackenburg which was part of the Maginot Line. The Maginot Line was built by the French before WWII (1936) to prevent the Germans from invading but they overtook it in one day. Ft. Hackenburg has the largest bunker on the Maginot Line. You would not believe this bunker. It was over 100 feet underground and self sufficient. It had generators, water, a small train, kitchen (complete with chefs), barracks, plus all the guns and ammunitions to seep it safe. We got to travel all through the bunker and rode the train through several tunnels to see the big 105 mm Howitzer. Our guide even showed us how it worked. She also took us to see the Howitzer from above ground. From there we went to Bunker 8 where a fight occurred between the Americans and the Germans. The Americans heavily damaged the bunker and set it on fire. The whole place was unbelievable.
Once we left Ft. Hackenburg we traveled on to Luxembourg and out hotel in the city of Luxembourg. It was good to have a little extra time to rest before our group dinner. For the most part our breakfasts and dinners
American Memorial Cemetery
are included in the tour and generally are at the hotels. The dinner tonight was at the hotel and we had a delightful waitress, Sabrina. I was tempted to go to my room, get my purse, and tip her because she was so good. Unlike the USA, it is not necessary to tip the waiters here unless the service is extraordinary. Now I will say that at this hotel you could go broke just paying for drinks (they are not included in the price of the meal) and that includes coffee and tea.
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