America Lost A Hero Last Week

By Tom Tillison
Orlando Political Press

America lost a hero this past week, did you notice? 

His name was Richard “Dick” Winters, the Easy Company commander whose World War II exploits were made famous by the book and television miniseries “Band of Brothers”.  Winters became the leader of Company E, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division on D-Day, after the death of the company commander during the invasion of Normandy.

Winters made himself a promise that if he lived through the war, all he wanted was peace and quiet.  When the war ended, Winters kept his promise to himself.  He married, bought a bucolic farm in central Pennsylvania, raised two children and worked in the agricultural feed business. 

He led a quiet life until the book and miniseries “Band of Brothers” threw him into the international spotlight.  He was always gracious about his new-found celebrity, but never really comfortable with it.

When people asked him if he was a hero, he liked to answer the way his World War II buddy, Mike Ranney, did.  “No,” Ranney said. “But I served in a company of heroes.”

The men Winters led expressed their admiration for their company commander after learning of his death.  “He was a good man, a very good man,” said ‘Wild Bill’ Guarnere.  “I would follow him to hell and back. So would the men from E Company.”

America, we need to remember the real hero’s in our life and emulating their behavior.  Now more than ever.  The world is a better place because of men like Dick Winters, who was 92.

May God bless you, Major!

 “I am still haunted by the names and faces of young men, young airborne troopers who never had the opportunity to return home after the war and begin their lives anew. Like most veterans who have shared the hardship of combat, I live with flashbacks–distant memories of an attack on a battery of German artillery on D-Day, an assault on Carentan, a bayonet attack on a dike in Holland, the cold of Bastogne[…]

If you had a man who was killed, you looked at him and hoped that he had found peace in death. I’m not sure whether they were fortunate or unfortunate to get out of the war so early. So many men died so that others could live. No one understands why.

To find a quiet peace is the dream of every soldier. For some it takes longer than others. In my own experience I have discovered that it is far easier to find quiet than to find peace. True peace must come from within oneself.

As my wartime buddies join their fallen comrades at an alarming rate, distant memories resurface. The hard times fade and the flashbacks go back to friendly times, to buddies with whom I shared a unique bond, to men who are my brothers in every sense of the word. I live with these men every day.”

~ Major Dick Winters



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Tom Tillison


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