The nonprofit association « Ardennes Memories » was born from a fact of deficiency. In 2009, with the then, approaching 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge, a few passionate enthusiasts realized that nothing – almost – was planned to commemorate with dignity this anniversary. Worse, the few events that were initiated, here and there, were not even coordinated. Facing this sad fact, Colonel Arnold De Beir, Military Commander of the Province of Luxembourg, and François-Xavier Jordens, historian, decided to unite around the same table the political authorities and the world of associations. From this initial meeting, a novel idea was to bloom.
The idea was, synergy between a leading committee, interested districts and associations of collectors. This concept, inspired by the “Way of Freedom”, was the answer to a double objective. On one side, to allow the public and veterans to be able to assist to the wide choice of commemorative activities planned in the province as before that, it was not rare to have several ceremonies happening at the same time in different places, which was not a wise thing to do. And on the other side, to honor to the best of our possibilities the memory of our comrades and liberators during that celebrating date.
Audacious bet but successful bet. During the weekend of 11-12-13 December 2009, solemn moment of this anniversary, nearly 75.000 visitors came to visit Ardennes memorial places, demonstrating their commitment to democratic values and their anglo-saxons liberators. The public made no mistake, as almost 1.700 reenactors, enhanced by the participation of 600 vehicles, united their efforts hand in hand to elaborate a comprehensive program from one side of the martyrdom province to the other.
Following this massive success, something became obvious to the initiators of the 65th Anniversary : this should not remain a one shot. As logical as it was, the scale of the task on hand would be questioned. Reflections resulted in the fact that such commemorations can only be organized on specific dates and not every year. The energy needed being too demanding. It was then decided to launch a new commemorative project, “limited” to a semi-professional “sound and light” show with a more limited geographical radiance.
Energized by the new challenge, two associations of living history, the « Duty First » and the « Historical Military Remember Association », joined Arnold De Beir et à François-Xavier Jordens. The project of the show being finalized, only finding a suitable place remained to be found. It took them not a long time to find the rare pearl… It will be the symbolic city of Bastogne which will welcome the project of the show, and especially the villages of Cobru and Recogne: “Ardennes Memories” was to take on a new dimension.
Since 2010, the concept is evolving ; the show is growing, while the number of visitors is rising. Nowadays, with the arrival of the “The BRO”and “European Axis Coalition” associations, Ardennes memories is getting even more professional in order to offer an even greater show to our annual visitors. Let’s hope that this is the new start of many more successful years to come.