I know the news right now is consumed with the tragedy in Tucson. That’s one of the things about living in the global village–everyone is focused on and discussing the same things. But the rest of the world does go on and I just want to note the passing of Dick Winters, the WWII company commander and major made famous by the 1992 Stephen Ambrose book “Band of Brothers” and the subsequent HBO mini-series of the same name.
It’s well known that we are losing these great men and women everyday. These are the people who created the future we now enjoy. I know that Winters was one that was truly inspiring to me and may very well have contributed to my inclination to get involved in capturing the story of some of these great men. The book I wrote “A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald” about P-38 pilot Joe Moser has been very well received and based on the number of notes and letters Joe and I continue to receive, we know it has also served as an inspiration for many.
Because of that book I have gotten involved in producing a documentary about the 168 Allied flyers sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. Last night I watched the rough edit of Jump Into Hell and was just so grateful that we were able to do in-depth video interviews with about six of these survivors including, of course Joe, and Colonel Phil Lamason, the New Zealand bomber pilot who served as the men’s commanding officer during their horrible time at the hands of the Gestapo and SS. Lamason and Winters were definitely cut from the same cloth–as were so many others.
It is easy, through the mist of time, to overly romanticize and glamorize these men and their exploits. Yet, their character and courage in a time of great fear and stress, when in a sense the whole world hung in the balance, is worthy of our most profound gratitude. Thank you Dick, Phil, Joe, Easy, Ed, Don, Chat, Jim and all the rest.