Major Richard Winters passed away 13 years ago today. He is the real life hero that we all have come to know as the charismatic and compassionate commander of Easy Company in Band of Brothers. His obituary in Washington Post makes a note about his leadership through a letter written by Floyd Talbert, one of his soldiers, to thank Major Winters for his loyalty and leadership in the war:
“You are loved and will never be forgotten by any soldier that ever served under you. I would follow you into hell.”
After the war, Major Winters led a quiet and peaceful life on his farm in Fredericksburg and in his home in Hershey, Pennsylvania until Band of Brothers — the book as well as the TV series — put him into the international spotlight. He was a true WWII hero who was never comfortable being called one. When asked if he was a hero, he liked to answer the way his WWII buddy Mike Ranney did to his grandson: “No, but I served in a company of heroes.” This became a major tagline in Band of Brothers.
Today is Veterans Day – a day of honoring all men and women that served in the United States armed forces. And it gives us a great opportunity to salute all war heroes, and in particular Major Dick Winters and Easy Company.
I know a thing or two about war. My day job is to study and understand war. I have written academic articles on war, I have taught on war… and even though I can write about war for pages and talk about it for hours as a scholar, the human cost of war is still incomprehensible to me.
Let me take a moment and look at my own family. My maternal grandmother never knew her father because he was a soldier in WWI in the Eastern Front in Turkey, and he literally froze because of the cold as he fought against the Russians. My paternal grandmother never knew her father, either; because he was also a soldier in WWI and was killed by a shrapnel in Gallipoli as he fought against the Anzacs. Continue reading “It’s Veterans Day! We Salute Major Dick Winters – The Rank and The Man”
Today’s blog post is coming from a very special lady. Linda has been running The Friends of Major Dick Winters Facebook Page for years and she is incredibly devoted to real-life WWII heroes. She regularly attends the reunions held on the anniversary of D-Day in Normandy with Band of Brothers actors and WWII veterans. Damian knows Linda well and appreciates her hard work honoring Major Dick Winters and all WWII veterans. You can read Linda’s wonderful story about how she became a Damian Lewis fan here!
In the summer of 2018, Linda had the pleasure of visiting some important Band of Brothers filming locations in Switzerland. I kindly asked her if she would consider writing about her trip for us and she said YES! And we are extremely thrilled that we are sharing Linda’s travels in the footsteps of Steven Spielberg filming Band of Brothers in our week-long BoB 18th Anniversary celebration!
When Damian attended the ceremonies for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day on Utah Beach back in 2014, he met the WWII veteran Jim “Pee Wee” Martin. A member of the 101st Airborne Division, Martin got his nickname because he was the lightest man in his regiment. He parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and was also a part of the ill-fated “Operation Market Garden” and the Ardenne Forest Offensive aka “Battle of the Bulge” during the WWII. He was 93 years old on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day but this did not hold him back from parachuting into Normandy to re-live that day all over again! And he did it again, in Holland this time, on the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden. He was 98. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday to D-Day’s 70th Anniversary on Utah Beach: In Memory of Jim “Pee Wee” Martin”