Sgt. Bill Bendrick was 20-years-old when he entered the service during World War II. He was 22 when he was captured while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.
The monument that stands on the West lawn of the Marathon County Courthouse is in memory of the soldiers that fought in the largest land battle of the war that the U.S. participated in.
"This is quite an occasion for me, because it was during the Belgian Bulge that I was captured," Bendrick said after the memorial was unveiled for the first time.
Bendrick was a 22-year-old sergeant when he was captured. He spent six months in a German stalag before he returned home. He says there were many other people that fought with him that didn't make it.
"They should be recognized for it," said Bendrick, "and I think this is, this monument is a part of being able to say thank you."
Standing by his side, his daughter says her father made it through the experience by remembering what he had waiting for him back at home.
"My dad says he figures the only reason he was alive," said Barbara Gwidt, "is that he had a picture of I and my mother in there that he carried."
It was a picture in a leather case that was almost taken away by a German prison guard, but for some reason, he let the young sergeant keep it.
Bendrick survived many things during his capture, but says there were many veterans who were never recognized for their sacrifice. He says the monument is one way of saying "We won't forget." Veterans laid a wreath in memory of those who died in the battle.
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