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     2001 Tour of Bavaria and Austria  (page 4)
                         
29 September 2001 through 11 October 2001

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Inside the ruined cathedral, now a Memorial   the Cathedral from outside

7 October (Sunday)  Our bus took us to the meadow on Ulrichsberg (Ulrich’s mountain) and we walked the next kilometer or so up the steep grade to the summit.  Here was the ruined cathedral, which has been turned into a memorial for the fallen soldiers (photo above) and next to it stands a huge stone cross.  As the visitors and dignitaries assembled for the ceremony, ladies in local costumes were selling schnapps in small glasses to add to the veteran’s fund.  We had our share of that.  In the front row with the dignitaries (photo below), we were introduced to the Mayor of Klagenfurt, the priests of the Evangelical and Catholic churches, the band leader (an Austrian Army Oberstleutnant (Lt. Colonel) and to an Austrian Army Oberst (Colonel).

   
Meeting the Evangelical priest
with our group
  the Catholic Priest and
the Oberstleutnant
  the top 'Brass of the Austrian Army

The ceremony was, as usual, outstanding!  Flags of many groups & veteran’s organizations were everywhere as were hundreds of veterans.  The sky was blue, the sun shining and the weather warm with the day and the spirit of the occasion.  The main speaker spent quite a bit of time on the events of September 11 and pledged support for America.  During his speech, he recognized SHARKHUNTERS to the crowd of several thousand.
 

   

                 More of the sights of the Ulrichsbergfest - just breathtaking!

After the ceremony ended, we spent an hour or so meeting many veterans and getting autographs.  The veterans were all just super and actually were pleased that so many Americans were there to meet them.  We had time for some refreshments in the meadow, then onto our bus for another special time.  We were Guests of Honor on a farm where more than 100 veterans gathered for fellowship.  Most were Germans and Austrians, but there were veterans from Italy, France and Holland as well.  They asked for some words from our group, so HARRY spoke for about two minutes.


Two Knights Cross holders were evident, both Luftwaffe.  One flew Me 109 and Me 110 fighters while the other flew the Me 262 jet fighter.  As with the other veterans, these two were happy to sign autographs and have their photos taken with us.  We met a gebirgsjäger (mountain trooper) who fought at Monte Casino.  He said it was crazy – he would fire one shot and a hundred bullets came back at him! There was a falschirmjäger (paratrooper) who fought in Crete and an Oberleutnant from the 2nd SS Division Das Reich.  The photo above was shot with one of these veterans at the afternoon meeting.  This was a fantastic time, but too soon we had to depart for our hotel.

We were told by the organizers of this historic annual event that our SHARKHUNTERS are now part of the Ulrichsberg Family and they said they expect us to be there every year.  This is a great honor, and we certainly will be back!

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