Op 16 december 1944 startte de operatie “Wacht am Rhein”, later bekend als De Slag om de Ardennen. Veel getuigt nu nog van die strijd. Onder meer de tank bij Beffe die na de oorlog vele jaren is blijven staan in een greppel langs de weg net even buiten Magoster. Huurders van Magoster-1 zullen zich vast de zeefafdruk ervan herinneren. Ik kreeg hem toegestuurd van Michael Wooten in Amerika.
De foto hierboven kreeg ik in 2010 van Rick Oldersom is overigens niet de tank van Beffe. Hij toont de Sherman-tank in La Roche in al zijn brute robustheid.
This painting and poem are based on a photograph that was taken in 1974 of a 2nd Armored Division Sherman tank that met it’s fate in a field along a road running between Magoster and Beffe. It was a casualty of the 2nd SS-Panzerdivision in the Ardenne in January of 1945. I could not help but wonder about this silent relic that still remained where it had fallen. Where had it fought prior to being knocked out? Who were the men that comprised the crew? What were they like and what was their fate? This haunting image serves to remind us that, indeed, “Freedom isn’t free.”
”By this fence near a quiet wood,
I sit alone where once I stood,
Beside my brothers in a row;
As Panzers attacked from the treeline below.
The farmland echoed the sound of war,
Where only peace had been before,
And here where things are meant to grow,
I fought and fell in blood-staind snow.
The years since then have drifted by,
I rust away beneath the sky,
In a country free from Hitler’s reign,
My sacrifice was not in vain.”
Signed by: Michael Wooten, Alabama, USA