Mass. veterans mark anniversary of Battle of the Bulge

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December 16, 2013, 6:58 pm
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(NECN: Mike Cronin) - December always brings back cold memories for Auburn, Mass. resident Robert Nordgren.

"It was cold, cold as hell. It was just a terrible terrible thing," Nordgren, who served in the 83rd Infantry Division, says. "To this day, I can't stand cold weather. Boy I can't stand cold weather."

Almost 20,000 Americans were killed in what was the deadliest battle for the United States in World War II. Nordgren was just 18 years old when the Battle of the Bulge began on Dec. 16, 1944.   

"I remember losing all of my buddies over there and plenty of them," he says.

The battle was the last major German attack of the war. It lasted about a month and spanned across three countries in northwestern Europe.

"That's where we ended up, the first contact with the Germans, a brutal hand to hand fighting experience," Herbert H. Adams, who served in the 82nd Airbourne Division, says.

Worcester resident Herbert Adams was a 21-year-old paratrooper. His unit was preparing to fight in the warm Pacific climate when the Battle of the Bulge began.

"So all of our winter gear had been taken away from us," he says.

They weren't prepared for the weather, which Adams says sometimes got as cold as 10 degrees below zero. He suffered permanent frost bite on his feet.

"You took your socks off, the skin and the toe nails and everything came right with it," he says.

Both veterans says it's important to remember the sacrafices made, but they hope there will never be a battle like the Bulge again. Adams says it's troubling to see so much fighting around the world today.

"Why should I be shooting at you? I've never met you before. I've got no hatred for you, but yet we've got people in this world willing to blow themselves up so they can kill somebody else... I can't understand that kind of stuff," he says.

Tags: massachusetts, Auburn, Worcester, Mike Cronin, robert nordgren, Herbert Adams, battle of the bulger
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