“In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:21-24
By mid-September 1994 the Allies had pursued Nazi troops after the landing at Normandy (D-day) back into Germany, the next objective was to secure the Ruhr River and its dams to prevent Nazi soldiers from flooding the Ruhr valley and halting down Allied troops. However, supply lines were stretched thin and the demand for fuel couldn’t be maintained that coupled with growing resistance slowed Allied forces down.
To reach their objective, Allies had to fight their way through the dense forests. The German forces were ready for them, it had been prepared for a situation like this, years before. Bunkers had been built and trenches along with anti-tank obstacles. Now it was reinforced with minefields and barbed wire. Autumn rains and early snow would help camouflage it. The result was a world war 1 style of trench fighting for a hundred yards only to be lost the next day with extensive casualties. By the end of the six months of fighting around 33,000 American and 28,000 German soldiers lost their lives here where my feet stand today.
All too soon our bus loaded up and we hit the road again, back to Stadallendorf and then on to the states.
This trip has been amazing! Spending 3 months in this beautiful country and getting to walk the same streets my ancestors walked before immigrating to America was such an amazing experience. In some small way, I feel I know them better though I never met them and perhaps in some small way I know myself a bit better. I’ve enjoyed every moment of my trip, every early morning trek in the snow and taken so many pictures but now it’s time to go. My suitcase is overloaded with souvenirs from my adventures! I can’t, however, say my German has improved much since I arrived here.
If you are new to my 3-month stint in Germany check out all of my travel logs under Germany HERE. To those of you who have traveled with me to each stop through these articles, thank you. It was a pleasure to share my adventures with you and I hope you learned as much as I did. I pray that you take something meaningful away from the research we’ve done on each place we wrote about and the stories I told. What was your favorite stop? Tell me in the comments below!