|Dick Winters 1918-2011|
Some are unsung and unknown and some are quite heralded. One rather unknown one was listed in the Tribune death notices today. His name was Arnie Marzullo and I knew him and played golf with him for quite a while before I knew about his service in WWII. I shall miss him a lot.
And he wasn't the only one like that. One man I used to play a lot of golf with once told me he didn't fly. I've never been crazy about it myself so I thought I understood why he didn't do it. It was only much later that I learned the reason he no longer flew. It took someone else to tell me that he was a ball turret gunner on a B17 during the war and had spent enough time in the air to last him the rest of his life. My uncle, Bert Davies, piloted that same kind of war plane so I was familiar with the danger involved in that activity. My uncle never returned from one of those dangerous missions. He was a hero, too.
I'm sure I have met many more heroes and never knew it. They all have one thing in common, they don't consider themselves heroic.
So today I was particularly saddened when I heard of the passing of Dick Winters last week in Pennsylvania. He was 92 years old. He was a hero, but like the rest, he never thought of himself as one.
Some of you who have seen the excellent movie Band of Brothers recognize his name. He was the central character in Steven Ambrose's historically accurate story of the men and events of the 506th paratroop infantry regiment of the 101st airborne division during WWII.
To grieve for and honor such a man does nothing to denigrate the heroism of so many others who have served, not only in that war, but in all the other conflicts in which our young men have found themselves embroiled because of the desire of some people to rule the lives of others.
Humble to the end, a true leader who should be an inspiration to other American leaders, not only for the things he did in war, but in the honest way he lived his ordinary life.
Dick Winters was ordinary, in a special way. God speed Dick, we owe you more than we can pay.