Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Brotherly Band

Sixty-six years ago, had the morons who operate Continental Airlines been responsible for ensuring the safe and timely arrival of supplies for Allied troops on the beaches of France, the D-Day invaders would have had to fight their way past German defenders with nothing but their smiles and the gear they could carry on their person. Fortunately Eisenhower elected to keep the job of supplying the troops in-house and not to farm it out to an outside vendor. In a large-scale military operation timing is everything. One cannot run the risk of "delayed" material exposing soldiers to unnecessary risk.

A few days ago I finished reading a book about an extraordinary man, Dick Winters. The book, "The Biggest Brother", is Winters' biography. In addition to providing a lot of background information about the Mennonite from Lancaster Pennsylvania who became the leader of Easy Company, it charts the course of Easy Company from the time of their first jump into action as part of the D-Day through the conclusion of the war in Europe. Whether you have read Ambrose's "Band of Brothers", seen the mini-series on HBO or both, it is a worthwhile read. You are reminded by Winters' words that the people called upon to do extraordinary things appeared to be, just like you and me perhaps, absolutely ordinary. Upon closer examination, they proved to be anything but.

And sixty-six years later, they still are. Here is to hoping that the rest of us can be as well - even if just for a moment.

-AK

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