Many people back home in the USA think that the European populace is ungrateful for the role the US played in the liberation of Europe in both major World Wars. The height of this misconception played out very loudly in 2003 during the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq and the US Capitol cafeteria renaming “French Fries” to “Freedom Fries” when the French balked at going back into Iraq.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Almost any town in Europe that has more than a half-dozen stoplights has streets named after Patton, Roosevelt and/or Churchill, among others.
Towns have monuments for the specific units that liberated them in addition to mourn locals who perished as both military and civilian deaths. Here is a marker for the “Big Red One” in Mons, Belgium from WWII.
I’m currently living in Mons, Belgium and annually they have a festival called “Tanks in Town” which celebrates the liberation of the town from the Nazis by allied forces. Here’s a photo showing some of the occupation:
Military enthusiasts with kit ranging from Sherman tanks to Willys Jeeps rally outside of town and follow the path of the liberating forces into the town square.
Finally the tanks demo in the town square and then rest so people can visit with them and take photos.
My photo from last year shows how popular the event is, and you get to see and hear Sherman tanks in all their glory. Something that happens rarely, anywhere, yet here it is an annual event.
Here is a link to their site in English which includes info for this year’s event. I’ll be there for some of it and try to snag pictures.