Friday, June 04, 2004

"We Few, We Happy Few..."

This Sunday marks the sixtieth anniversary of the D-Day invasion, sometimes called a day that changed the course of history. This Allied offensive was the beginning of a major campaign that ultimately led to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

D-Day has been memorialized in words and images. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielburg not only created a horrific and stunningly realistic film account of the Second World War and the brave men who fought it, but also led the effort in creating a memorial to honor the heroes of that war, in Washington D.C.

But only in recent years has some light been shed on the heroics that took place during the hours before the boats landed on Utah and Omaha Beach. Stephen Ambrose wrote about the men of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 101st Airborne, and their heroic drop behind enemy lines to help pave the way for the Allied invasion. In his book, Ambrose interviewed every surviving member of this group that he could find, so much of the book is really in the words of the heroes themselves.

While I would normally tell you to read the book, which is outstanding, I know most of you won't do that. So instead, I strongly encourage you to go to your nearest Blockbuster or Hollywood Video on Saturday night, and rent the first VHS tape or DVD of this miniseries, which fleshes out the story of these daring men. The first two episodes of the miniseries cover their training, and their pre-dawn drop into occupied Normandy. If you have time, it'd be well worth it to watch the other eight episodes of this series, but at least check out the first two, just to gain some insight into the life of a soldier at this time, and the real courage it took for these men to do their duty.

Their story is still amazing to me.

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