Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Richard Winters Passes

I've been dreading this day since September 2001, when Band of Brothers first aired on HBO. The mini-series started its run on Sunday 9/9; I remember it simply because the next weekend, they did not air the 3rd episode due to the attacks of the 11th (the first two episodes aired the first night). Oddly, last night I was watching The Pacific, and thought to myself how it's going to be 10 years since Band of Brothers debuted. Where has the time gone?

Richard Winters, the leader of the 101st airborne, played brilliantly in the mini-series by Damian Lewis, passed away on Jan 2. He would have been 93 in a month.

I've named this blog juin61944 in honor of what men like Richard Winters accomplished all those years ago. It was arguably the most important day of the 20th century. 'The Great Crusade' is taken from Eisenhower's "Order of the Day" given to the men on June 5th, 1944. "You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade." What a great line.

I remember taking the Band of Brothers guided tour in Normandy in 2005, surprised to be told by the tour guide that Damian Lewis is British. You'd never know it from his performance in the series, or his performance in the show Life that ran for two seasons on network TV. A great actor, and now, you can't see anyone else playing Dick Winters.

The men of WWII do not think of themselves as heroes. They were doing their jobs, whether they liked it or not. They joined, they went, they fought, those who made it through came home and lived quiet lives, many of them. I remember the advertisements for the series on the Metro-North trains, where the tag line was something similar to "ordinary men in extraordinary times." Indeed they were, and while it is predictable and entirely natural, it's sad to have to see them go.


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