I noticed in our schedule, today and next month, we’ll be continuing Larry Martin’s series “”WWII – In Their Own Words,” a series so popular, we had to move it to the church across the street. Then our copy of this HBO award winning series came across my desk to be checked in. So, I thought of letting you know about a wonderful mini-series about the men of Easy Company, 101stAirborne Division. It’s based on the memoirs of one of the men from Easy Company and interviews with the survivors. The series takes them from their formation and preparation in New Jersey to jumping into France, behind the lines, to support the Allies landing on D-Day. Then we follow them through the liberation of the French country side until they suffer many hardships at the infamous “Battle of the Bulge” where the Germans threw everything they had at them. They also liberated a concentration camp in one the most moving episodes I’ve ever seen. Then they get into Austria and capture Hitler’s favorite place, the Eagle’s Nest retreat at Berchstesgarten.
Through the series we concentrate on the men and their friendship, especially Maj. Richard D. Winters, played by Damien Lewis and Capt. Lewis Nixon, played by Ron Livingston. I believe they begin in NJ as newly drafted lieutenants and earn their promotions on the battlefield. I could have sworn Damien Lewis was American until I saw him in the “Forsyte Saga,” so perfect is his American accent and mannerisms.
The entire cast brings this epic to life – you can almost smell the cigarette smoke and the fear-sweat and feel the numbing cold of the Ardenne forest. The Battle of the Bulge was the single bloodiest of the war with 89,000 casualties, including 19,000 dead. When the German Army called the 101stAirborne to surrender, their acting commander’s (Gen Anthony McAulliffe) famous reply was “NUTS.” It had to be explained to the Germans!
If you are interested in WWII history, I urge you to rent this DVD. A six DVD set, it has lots of extras, including interviews with the real soldiers behind their film characters. There are also many books on Easy Company in the library, written by the men involved. They were real American heroes. Check it out!