Belgium / Monument
Representing the symbol of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagle statue is the masterpiece of Belgian sculptor Robert Remacle. The inauguration on 26 September 2008, was attended by His Excellency the Ambassador of the United States of America in Belgium, Sam Fox, the Deputy-Mayor of Bastogne, Philippe Collard, and the main parish-priest of Bastogne, Jean-Maurice Jacques, who blessed the memorial.
Since the war, many voices have been raised wishing to further honour the 101st Airborne Division and other U.S. troops surrounded in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. There was already a monument in memory of the then ’acting’ commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Brigadier-General Anthony McAuliffe and his famous "nuts" reply to the German forces’ surrender proposal in December 1944.
Private Dennis McKeen, a U.S. soldier of the 101st Airborne Division, was killed during the fighting for Bastogne by German troops, abandoned along a road and then reported missing. Having become the godfather of McKeen, when he adopted to look after his grave, Robert Remacle wanted to pay tribute to him by erecting a memorial for him and his division. The then Mayor of Bastogne favoured the Mardasson Memorial site to place a commemorative monument.
It was suggested to the sculptor to use a local stone for the monument. The stone was donated by the Carrière sur les Roches quarry, which also made its infrastructure available. The project to create the emblematic symbol of the famous division was born. Supported by his family and aided by local partners of the project, including with the help of work tools offered by merchants from Bastogne, Robert worked as a volunteer for almost a year on the project. The stone that initially weighed almost two tonnes was transformed into a sculpture that weighs around 1,000 kilograms.
It is therefore the entire population of Bastogne who offers this monument in gratitude to the bravery of the 101st Airborne Division and other units under the command of McAuliffe during the siege of Bastogne.
The Screaming Eagle statue is full of symbolism. Its wings are voluntarily raised to evoke the dove of Peace, the returned American helmet symbolises the blood spilled and therefore all of the soldiers wounded, killed or reported missing. The head of the eagle is turned towards the helmet, to place the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division under its protection.
Coline du Mardasson, 5, Bastogne, 6600