Friday, July 3, 2009
Tribute to Band of Brothers: "Brave, so brave.. it was unbelievable."
(Picture of my husband Greg with Buck Compton and Don Malarky on the Band of Brothers Tour of Europe, 2007. Both men are still alive and remembering...)
For those of you who are watching the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, you may recall the choking-back-tears comment from Don Malarky as he described his comrades of the 101st Airborne, many decades after WW2. "Brave, so brave.. it was unbelievable."
Greg and I had the privilege of a lifetime 2 years ago, when we got to spend 2 weeks in Europe with Buck Compton and Don Malarky, two of the paratroopers portrayed in Band of Brothers. We stood at the sea of white crosses in Normandy as a friend played taps. Don, Irish and emotional, wept openly as Buck wiped away a tear and swallowed hard.
We walked with these old soldiers through the Bastogne forest where they once nearly froze and starved in foxholes to protect our freedom in the Battle of the Bulge. They remember their dear friends whose legs were blown off in this lovely green forest, once white with snow and red with blood and lit up with terrible fire and noise of war. I gather pinecones on this misty summer day, to give to my children and grandchildren. To help me remember the sacrifice so many made to secure our freedom.
We visited with a family whose parents/grandparents were liberated from their own home by Easy Company soldiers. The family show us a room with a red stain on the floor. It was were a Nazi was shot and killed. They look at Don and Buck with such admiration and gratitude.
Everywhere we go these two vets are instantly surrounded when people hear that there are American paratroopers among us. They are rock stars in Europe where children grew up hearing of the "angels coming out of the sky" in parachutes to save them from the German soldiers.
They are rock stars to me.
Thank you, Don & Buck, for your service to our country, and for sharing your stories and a lifetime of memories with us.
If you'd like to read more about Buck and Don check out their books on amazon.com
Call of Duty by Buck Compton
http://www.marcusbrotherton.com/ (Marcus is the collaborator and has fabulous video/pictures relating to Buck's book)
Easy Company Soldier by Don Malarkey
Recently Marcus Brotherton interviewed and collected stories from the 101st airborne (Easy Company) into a book called: We Who Are Alive and Remain:Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers by Marcus Brotherton. It has been called the very best of all the Band of Brothers books by many of the soldiers as well as literary critics.
http://www.bandofbrothersbooks.com/ (website with video)