For Christmas this year I treated myself to the six-DVD set of Band of Brothers, as originally seen on HBO. I had long looked forward to seeing this series.
I have seen all but the last DVD (two episodes). It is a fine, historical series. No huge surprises, as most of us know the story of World War II.
What is awe-inspiring is the interviews at the beginning of each episode with Easy Company, 101st Airborne survivors. I so hope at the end of the series they identify the survivors by name, as it is easy to fall in love with the amazing young men in the series, as portrayed by today’s young actors. It would be wonderful to know which ones have survived to a ripe old age (many, many of them die in the series, as they did in real life).
The series does not veer too far in either direction–it does not glamorize nor vilify war. It shows that many bodies were (and are) shattered by it. It is not for the faint of stomach, in fact.
But it allows us to form our own conclusions from history, as it should. It leads people to think.
I did not realize that the 101st Airborne’s winter defending Bastogne was much like Washington’s winter at Valley Forge. One survivor says he still tells his wife, when it gets cold and snowy outside their home, “At least I am not sleeping outside in the snow in Bastogne.”
Men are shown huddled under blankets in foxholes, sleeping like a heap of kittens with other men for warmth. Amazing times.
It is totally understandable how the men of Easy Company have remained best friends and closest of brothers during the ensuing decades. They say no one else could even understand what rigors and horrors they undertook that winter.
In the battle for Bastogne and in their other battles, they had over 100% casualties (lots of replacements sent in were killed or injured, too).
Amazing times. Amazing men. I am glad this series was made.