Friday, July 3, 2009

Lives That Touched Us All

In 2007 Becky and I went on a "Band of Brothers" trip with two of the original men: Don Malarkey and Buck Compton (pictured at left). Here we are in Ste. Mere Eglise in Normandy, France.

Instead of a normal and promised post on a different subject, I thought I'd share some of what my wife Becky shared on her blog today ( Though this is not Memorial Day or Veteran's Day, it's certainly a day we must remember those who were willing to sacrifice all to insure our way of life. If you know a serviceman or a veteran, it's never too late to say "thanks" for all they've done/are doing to give us the freedoms we enjoy...

From Becky's blog...

For those of you who have watched 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 remembered 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 gathered 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 showed us a room with a red stain on the floor. It was where two Nazi officers died from their wounds. They look at Don and Buck with such admiration and gratitude.

Everywhere we went these two vets were instantly surrounded when people heard that there were 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
Call of Duty by Buck Compton (with Marcus Brotherton) (Marcus is the collaborator and has fabulous video/pictures relating to Buck's book)

Easy Company Soldier by Don Malarkey (with Bob Welch)

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. (website with video)

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