BASTOGNE, BELGIUM — Defense Secretary Mark Esper is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium.
The landmark battle of World War Two was the last major offensive campaign under Adolf Hitler's rule on the western front.
Speaking at a memorial event, Esper said the stories of the American soldiers who fought to stand against tyranny will never be forgotten.
“Your stories are remarkable and we will forever be grateful for the sacrifices you made,” Esper said.
He added that the U.S. lost more than 19,000 men in the battle, the largest American loss in a single battle during the World War.
“The real story of the of the Battle of the Bulge are the soldiers who banded together,” Esper said.
Esper said the event recognizes the commitment to freedom and the sacrifices Americans made 75 years ago.
“For a moment in history, the fate of the free world rested on their shoulders — rested on your shoulders,” Esper said.