National Geographic : 1970 Jul
Peaceful invasion: European based U. S. troops (left) parade in Ettelbriick on "Remem brance Day," commemorating the final retreat of Nazi armies in January 1945. Luxembourg ers celebrate in late June, when they have better weather and more visitors to take part. Two who remember Ameri can liberation display the Stars and Stripes, draped in unor thodox fashion, beside their own flag in Ettelbruick, a city that fell to the Germans in heavy fighting during "the Bulge." The Third Reich ex ploited the country, imprison ing 16,000 people and drafting young men to fight on the dread ed eastern front. U.S . ARMY;EKTACHROME(OPPOSITE)AND KODACHROME BYTED H. FUNK© N.G .S . afterward) is what historians call a "marchland," a small border area caught between giants, endlessly invaded and trampled on from both sides. Most Americans, if they know about Luxem bourg at all, recall the terrible fighting that took place there in World War II. There was one battle in particular that raged through the wooded moun tains of the north, a battle called "the Bulge." I was to see the sad traces of it, still remembered, still visible, before I left the country. The perilous existence shows in the brooding castles that stand on the rocky hilltops, with moats and drawbridges that could be raised to provide at least temporary refuge from the latest wave of invaders. It shows, too, in the tenacious resistance to change by people who have seen too much of it. There is even a national motto: "We wish to remain what we are." It is a political statement, a protest against foreign domination. But it is more than that; it is an attitude reflected in many aspects of Luxembourg life. It shows most of all, I think, in the looks of the place. Back Roads Offer the Best Scenery I thought Luxembourg City looked medieval, but that was before I saw the rest of the country. One day soon after I arrived, I set out in a rented car, heading north, toward the hills and the forest called the Ardennes. On this first trip I learned a lesson. In Luxem bourg it is best, when possible, to drive by the back roads. They are narrow and winding, but always well marked, so I never got lost. More important, . they make the trip last longer and thus provide more time to look at the scenery.