To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, 14 American World War II veterans, including Decatur’s George Mills and Jim Feezel, returned to Europe this week.
Coordinated by Tennessee-based Forever Young Senior Veterans, the trip, which began Friday, will include stops in Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. The group will return to Huntsville on Saturday.
During the Trip of Honor, Feezel, a Sherman tank driver who knocked down the front gate at Dachau, will visit the site of the former concentration camp where an estimated 30,000 people died.
A prisoner of war for five months, Mills will return to the home he was captured from during the Battle of the Bulge and visit with the family who tried to help the American soldiers during the battle.
“Anytime a veteran goes to a place that in their memories is nothing but nightmares and they are met with people falling on their knees, kissing their hands and calling them heroes, that brings them peace,” said Chris Batté, coordinator for Forever Young Senior Veterans in Alabama, an extension of Forever Young Senior Veterans, a nonprofit organization focused on granting the wishes of veterans ages 65 and older.
Along with Mills and Feezel, other north Alabama veterans on the trip are Charles Henry of Huntsville, Earl Miller of Harvest, Harold McMurran of New Market and Major Wooten of Madison.
The Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II, occurred Dec. 16, 1944, to Jan. 25, 1945.