B24,  Monument,  News

Inauguration of the new King Size monument

12 December 2021

It was a misty and hazy Sunday. With a small group we started the commemoration around 11.45hrs. We also had a Livestream for those who could not attend. Just like the other years our commemoration was in two languages, with Tom Konings translating in French.
The community of Manhay attended in the ceremony. And we had two guests of honor: Eddy and Brian O’Rourke from New York/ USA, relatives of co-Pilot Edward O’Rourke.

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The last year we had extensivly searched for pictures and relatives of Henry Maxham and Edward O’Rourke.
In October 2021 Kaye Ackermann and a young man, named Carter Cashen of Footstepsresearchers had a breakthrough: they found relatives of both men. It resulted in two pictures we could add to the monument.
We finally could complete it.

We opened our ceremony:
This year, again, was a remarkable year. Covid and the public debate about it brought us in a tense and overstrung situation. Let us not forget we can stand here, together as one, in total freedom, thanks to the brave men, like the crew of the King Size.”
We then continued with an introduction and a brief perspective of the crash.
Ben Konings recited the poem “High Flight”  by John Gillespie Magee, which is one of the most known poems by airmen.
Founder and teamleader of Footsteps Researchers Myra Miller spoke a few words about the research and adressed a few words to Viktor who never gave up in finding the crew.

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And then it was time to reveal our new monument. Viktor and Eddie, both 83 years old, took away the cover and the new pictures on the plaque were revealed.

After reading the names of the brave men of the King Size, it was time to place flowers.
Viktor and Jaqueline were first and Eddy and Brian placed flowers on behalf of the King Size families. Kaye Ackermann and Carter Cashen placed flowers on behalf of Footsteps Researchers followed by the community of Manhay. Ben Konings, David Martin and Joey van Meesen placed flowers on behalf of the Grandmenil Team.
The last post was played, followed by one minute of silence, the US and Belgium anthems.

Eddie O’Rourke said something I will not forget easily: “When I was 6 years old, I was playing outside with my friends. When Viktor was six years old he experienced war and saw the plane of my uncle coming down.

In the gallery you will see also some other pictures made durng the visit of Eddy and Brian O’Rourke.

High Flight – by John Gillespie Magee
I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew –
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Many thanks to:
– Michel Wynants for his beautifull pictures.
– the Ardennes 505pir ASBL and Utah Remember Group for attending our ceremony
– Band Of Brothers group FAAC for attending our ceremony

Bob has been researching the B-24 crashsite from june 2013 till november 2017. He runs a B&B in the hamlet of Grandmenil since 2008 and researches the events of the Battle of the Bulge. www.grandmenil.com www.battle-of-the-bulge.be