Bastogne War Museum
Crossed three countries, broke the speed limit at well over a hundred miles per hour everywhere possible, car sick from all of the curves and turns, but I arrived alive. Don’t ask me for directions, I closed my eyes above 90 mph and didn’t open them until the car stopped. I also understand why all of the public restrooms in Europe were clean, they charge! So after my life flashed before me, I paid 1 euro to use the bathroom, I was ready for whatever, or so I thought.
When pictures are worth a thousand words, we must let them do the talking. The unapologetic passion dedicated to this museum slapped me in the face as soon as I walked in the door. A life sized picture of Hitler! While I was completely unnerved in this moment, that feeling sets the tone for the harrowing stories you will experience first hand. I will simply say this, the artistry in designing the layout of this museum is nothing short of spectacular. If you are in Belgium, close to Bastogne, and have the opportunity I highly recommend the trip. Each picture, document, audio guide, and interactive room tell the unheard stories of the millions silenced on all sides of conflict.
Dawn of The Conflict
Dehumanizing of Humans
What strikes me always are the eyes of children and the piles of dead bodies disposed and disregarded as trash.
See The War Through Our Eyes Audio Guide
The experiences of those living during times of combat. How are they similar? How are they different? My conclusion is that they all experience paralyzing fear of the unknown.
Springtime For Dictators
Spring of 1922-1923 was an interesting time for Hitler especially. He was jailed, and used his time to write Mein Kampf.
The Making of Madness
As much as I despise the actions, I have always been fascinated with acts of genocide. How does one devise a plan to kill millions, how does the world watch, how do we have faith in humanity in the aftermath? Small steps is how, it takes time, it happens silently behind closed doors, then simple actions daily, as we watch in disbelief. The artifacts did a great job with remaining true to the disgusting horrors. Sugarcoating history doesn’t allow healing for generations to come.
Raise a Child
Soldiers of All Kinds
If you want to know how it feels to experience a day living in a city that is surrounded by conflict and combat the interactive rooms provide the true experience.
The Mardasson Memorial honors the American soldiers that were killed, wounded, or missing during the Battle of The Bulge. Take time to enjoy all sections and the view from the top is worth the climb.
Why I Love This Museum & Memorial
The Bastogne War Museum is apart of the Liberation Route Europe, an international circuit of memorials and it is also apart of the Network of European and American Museums and Memorial sites. Its blatant, in your face, unapologetic, harsh, sad, awful, disgusting, and honest! Historic events, are what they are and the vivid honesty was what I appreciated most, even thought it was difficult to process in such a short amount of time. My plan wan’t to take very many pictures, but how could I not document this moment for myself and drop this gem into the the universe so that others may be inspired to make the stop. A war museum or memorial might not be on your list of travel hot spots, but I guarantee you will leave enriched with history from a different view, and filled with compassion. If you have a tendency to cry in all situations as I do, bring tissues, or act like Belgium is bad for your allergies because you will be completely unnerved.
Spend time on the grounds outside, sit on the bench in the garden, enjoy the artwork, climb to the top and spend a few minutes loving the view. Appreciate the freedoms that we have and focus on always loving unconditionally regardless of where you are in the world.
A quick drive back into town and stop at Le Nut’s for lunch. The restaurant is also another mini historic stop and is filled with pictures and the story behind the restaurant and it’s name. Enjoy a cold beer, a steak with cheese but don’t be alarmed if you see dogs inside, its quite normal in restaurants all over Europe.
- Many of the artifacts are upsetting but also beautifully depicted and respectful.
- The audio tour will bring tears to your eyes.
- The virtual experience is powerful and puts you in war, this could cause triggers for some and you might want to be cautions if you suffer from seizure disorders. Children and young adults with Autism who are sensitive to noise might not like this experience,
- Enjoy the grounds, seems like they were designed with the idea in mind that after leaving the museum visitors might enjoy something calming.
- Head into town, drink a beer, my personal favorite is Leffe , enjoy a delicious meal and eat chocolates for desert!
A day in Belgium that started with me being Un-Nerved, ended with love and lots of laughs, now if I can only survive the ride home!!!!!!!!! Ny