Discovering Bois de la du Paix, Belgium and the Band of Brothers

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Belgium

Discovering Bois de la du Paix, Belgium

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After we went to the Bastogne War Museum, we drove through the town of Bastogne and surrounding countryside. We drove down a road and spotted a sign. We had not intended to be here, but, travel is about experiences and trying new things, so we went on to the next road. The sign said, Bois de la Paix or Peace Woods. The charming farmhouses and pastoral fields full of lazy cows invited us to investigate further. We drove on. There wasn’t a tourist to be found as we drove further.

Discovering Bois de la du Paix, Belgium

We drove past rolling hills and relaxed cows who occasionally cried out with a moo. The fresh cut hay and pastoral landscape didn’t hint of the Battle of all battles was fought here in WWII.

bois de la pais. belgium farm

Farmhouses and Wineries

bois de la pais. belgium

bois de la paix, belgium farm house

Discovering Bois de la du Paix, Belgium

At first we thought we were lost as we wandered into the woods. The light and fresh scent of herbs invited us to continue on. We walked deeper into the woods until we saw a clearing and bright fall light.

bois de la paix. belgium

Bois de la Paix

bois de la paix, belgium

We saw a clearing. To our left and right there were little plagues with writing in English and French on them. These plaques told stories about the resistance, battle, and what each town overcame and endured to win the Battle of Bastogne and Battle of the Bulge.

To understand the location, take a look at this Bois de la Paix video. The video might describe the simplicity of the memorial, better than my words.

As we walked through the clearing we began to comprehend and understand what we saw. We saw white birches lined up straight as could be. And then we noticed, concrete markers topped with brass nameplates. each marker and tree was a soldier. one hundred and forty-three soldiers buried.

Soldiers Buried Here

Each tree represents a person. This is the spot of sacrifice, solemn intent to win at all cost, no matter the temperature or conditions. It is absolutely silent. We continued to wander, reading the names on each plague, out loud, we thanked them for their service. There is no way to know what it was like to be a soldier who served here. Therefore, because of these brave soldiers, and their sacrifice, England. France, Belgium Netherlands, and Luxembourg aren’t German today.

bois de la paix, belgium

Why Here. What We Found.

Created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, we stumbled on to it, not understanding what we found. On the surface, there are three hectares of land in three concentric circles. Three sets of trees line the grove, with more than 4000 trees planted here. I will try to describe what we saw.

bois de la paix, belgium

Regiments and Divisions

The woods form three circles. In the largest circular area, the regiments stand guard and brown wooden markers labeled with each regime circle the outer area. Next, there is green open lawn. And then a grove of birch trees, with 143 names, next to each tree.

Three things can be discovered at the Bois de la Paix. You discover countries, cities, and men who sacrificed and fought at the battle of Bastogne.

Regiments

At first, it looks like a woods, a park, and a gazebo, all mysteriously, in the middle of the woods. But, examine it closer, and you find the names of regiments. The brown wooden markers represent the regiments that won the battle. The outer level is dedicated to the American regiments commemorating their valor and price paid for peace.

Cities

Each city impacted by the Battle of Bastogne, the Battle of the Bulge, and WWII is represented by a tree in this forest. The Belgium people planted a tree from their region or city and listed a heroic feat that happened in the city. The first circle of this memorial represents the cities, second circle the regiments and third, the circular forest represents the soldier.

Soldiers

Next, guarding the outer circle, in the inner circle, are trees representing the American Troops.

bois de la pais. belgium

There is a large grassy area, representing the peaceful nature of Belgium.

One part of the woods, the trees, honor American veterans and warriors who defended Bastogne.

Lastly, the outer area represents the regiments and divisions that fought the Battle of the Bulge. This is definitely worth seeing. If you are interested in WWII, or peace, this is an especially important memorial. Bois de la Paix is off the beaten tourist path, is quiet, and a place to reflect.

This place is a good place to reflect on what is happening in our world today.

Here is an interesting tid bit, guess which tree was chosen for the city of Bastogne? The walnut tree was picked in tribute to the famous “Nuts” of General McAuliffe.  (Don’t know if this is true- but sounded interesting.)

Here are more War Memorial Sites to see.

Mardasson Memorial, Bastogne War Museum and Battle of the Bulge

Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

2 Comments

  1. Jassim

    November 9, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Lovely pictures. I enjoyed the article

    • Kate

      November 9, 2018 at 6:54 am

      Thank you Jassim so glad you liked the post. As we head towards US Veterans day, its important to remember those who sacraficed and served for all of us to be free of the Nazi terror. The location is one of the most peaceful places I have ever been. Thanks for your kind words.

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