Friday, 2 October 2009

"Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?" Grandpa said, "No... but I served in a company of heroes".

It's Friday. I am so glad. No lie in for me again though as I am off to see Jenny and David tomorrow - 100 miles away BUT it will be worth it and I will have a cherry yogushake to keep me company. My destination is not quite so interesting as my younger brothers. He is currently meandering around France - doing a bit of a D Day/Band of Brothers trek/homage...whatever you want to call it - it's sounding very fun. Yesterday he went to a hypermarket so large that the staff were on inline skates. Now he thinks he's found his calling, I just wondered how deft they are at jumping over customers that get in their way (it's probably a good job I am not on this holiday with him.)
The other day he was on Omaha beach, having just passed through where Major Winters landed......you might wonder why, as a girl, I even care about such things. I guess it was because I was brought up in a predominantly male household and got to see nearly every war film going. It paid me well once though. I was due to attend an evening meal with a big committee I was working with and I heard 'Alison, I've saved you a seat' and I thought oo how nice, I'd only been there a few weeks. Then I saw who had saved me a seat. He can only be described as a misogynist to be honest...and sure enough within minutes the male table had been steered into a conversation about rugby and war....well well well I excelled. My dad went to the same school as Johnny Wilkinson....so rugby was his thing and I know enough to be able to hold my own in a conversation for a while. And war, well as I say I had an older brother almost obsessed with army things and would quite often run around in my best camo coloured outfit.
So.....now my other brother is off doing Band of Brother tours it felt the right time to salute Major Winters. I realise that if you haven't watched Band of Brothers you might have no clue who I am talking about. But this man is officially one of my heroes - and I don't normally go in for such fancies.
Major Richard 'Dick' Winters was a fair leader that had humour and compassion during the war. He felt honored to be working with his company 'Easy Company' and never pulled rank in a bad way. During the early stages of the war Major Winters found a map, pointing out every German defense firing upon Utah Beach, he quickly offered it up the ranks so everyone could have this information, saving many men from disaster. All through his career he would think logically and calmly - and had an almost sixth sense to how things would pan out. His actions saved so many, you really have to watch Band of Brothers to feel the impact properly, but never once did he pat himself on the back, he always just berated himself for not having saved more people. There was a situation where if he had followed orders to the letter, many men would've died, he saw this and the orders changed a little...again, many men were saved, again he just thought about those that would not be lucky enough to go home.
Major Winters won many medals but the medal of honor was never awarded to him. There have been many petitions to rectify this, and I really hope that it is, whilst he is still alive to realise how many people's lives he managed to change.


Humor even in war when they have just landed in Normandy. To Hall Major Winters says 'All right, follow me!' he starts going one way, they are met with gunfire he turns around and goes the other way. 'To hell with that!' he says.

"That night, I thanked God for seeing me through that day of days and prayed I would make it through D plus 1. I also promised that if some way I could get home again, I would find a nice peaceful town and spend the rest of my life in peace." - Major Winters

4 comments:

  1. growing up in a predominantly male household sounds like an experience i presume. I want to see that movie

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  2. It takes a whole weekend to watch the boxset but it's incredible - but not always in a good way. Some of the human suffering is terrible - but Major Winters - just such a humble man - it's rare...so I figured he should be applauded ☺☺

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  3. I watched Band of Brothers in two days not wanting to sleep I was so engrossed in this story. My father always read WWII books, I thought it was because he was in WWII, but now I know why! I myself just read Beyond Band of Brothers The Memoirs of Major Dick Winters this book was written by Major Winters. Just as good as Band of Brothers. As far as I know Major Winters is living in Pennsylvania as of 2010 he was born in 1918,you do the math. I also live in Pa, maybe I'll do a trip to Hershey where he has his museum.

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  4. Thanks for your post. It saddens me greatly that he has not be given a medal of honor yet as I think he's one person that truely deserves it. I know he's not long for this world and I really want him to be rewarded with this medal in his life time. I know the family don't except mail or anything for him anymore. If you go to the museum please let me know all about it!

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