Way back in 2001 HBO aired the mini-series, Band of Brothers about a company of WWII paratroopers starting from their intense training through the end of the war.

The main character in the show, Major Richard “Dick” Winters began the series as a Second Lieutenant, assumed command of Easy Company on D-Day, and earned his way up to Battalion Command and the rank of Major by the end.

On January 2nd, 2011 Major Winters passed away from complications with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 92.  In February he would have turned 93.

Hearing of his passing, I observed a brief moment of silence out of respect for him, his accomplishments, and those of all the men and women who contributed to the war effort during those years who are no longer with us today.

My grandfathers and great uncles, grandmothers, and great aunts all contributed in one way or another to help save the world from tyranny, and restore peace for as long as it would last.  They are known as The Greatest Generation, and for good reason.  While in Paris last spring, Kristina and I visited the Military museum which had a good amount of WWII relics, and also visited Normandy, which to me was the most moving part of our entire trip.

Every year I take 3-4 days to watch the entire Band of Brothers series.  Each time I am still awe struck by the stories, and the way they were portrayed by each and every one of the actors.  The looks of intensity on their faces are unmatched by anything else of its genre.  Each time I watch it I also get choked up at the same points – the liberation of the concentration camp, the deaths of Hoobler, Muck, & Penkala, the mortars that took the legs of Toye and Guarnere, and more.

In interviews with the gentlemen who’s lives were portrayed in the series, they confirm what Spielberg, Hanks, and the rest of the show’s producers set out for us to watch.  Dick Winters never considered himself a hero, but said he served in a company of men who were.  (Not the quote, but that was the general gist of it.)  I never got to meet Major Winters, but knowing the men in my family who served in the war I can imagine he must have been quite a person.  The world is a better place because of all of them.