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Big Battles and Small Acts

Seventy-Five years ago this very week, one of the most decisive battles of World War II was being fought in and around the small Belgium hamlet of Bastogne, as part of the larger battle that we often call “THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE”.

The gallant 463rd parachute field artillery battalion were hunkered down on the outskirts of the even smaller village of Hemroulle, near Bastogne, awaiting the formidable German
Panzers. The troops realized that their drab olive uniforms made easy targets against the two feet of glistening white snow that had fallen that late December blanketing the village.

The American commander asked the village priest if there was anything he could do to provide the troops with white sheets to help camouflage their dark uniforms.

The priest climbed the bell tower and urgently peeled the church bells summoning his parishioners. They came. In several hours the 463rd was camouflaged by snow-white bedsheets. On Christmas day of 1944 the Germans were repulsed. Soon they would be retreating to Germany.

Ten years after the War there was a 10th Anniversary
commemoration in the village of Hemroulle. Many of the 463rd returned to Belgium to honor the fallen and pay tribute to the countless heroes.

The American commander brought a truckload of white bedsheets to the reunion to be distributed to the families of Hemroulle. Both villagers and hardened paratroopers wept and embraced.

Big battles are won by small acts of kindness, small acts of sacrifices.

“DO NOT DESPISE THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS.”
- Zechariah 4:10

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