Memorial Day has just passed, and now it is the Anniversary of D-day. To all of the men and women in the Armed Forces who have chosen to leave their homes so that all of us can have one, THANK YOU!
And to all of the families, who let them go, and stay behind and pray for them, counting the days until they get home, THANK YOU!
On June 6, 1944, thousands of young men jumped out of airplanes into the night sky over France. They all knew they had a very good chance of being killed that night, but they jumped anyway.
D-day had begun, and the 101st Airborne was helping lead the way to defeat Nazi tyranny.
Growing up, I read multiple books on World War II, but my all-time favorite is Band of Brothers.
Easy Company entered the war on June 6th, 1944 by parachuting into France. They continued to be involved in the most pivotal parts of the war, jumping in Operation Market Garden, holding Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge, finding out first-hand the truth of concentration camps in Germany, and ultimately capturing Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgarden.
What sets it apart from many other books on World War II, is that it doesn't major on the grand strategy of the war. (There are hundreds of books that have done that already)
It tells the story from the point of view of the ordinary person, the Citizen Soldier, who may very well hate war, and hate what they are doing in it. They may at times not even care that much about the grand strategy. But, they choose to go on because their buddies are depending on them. They choose to endure sleepless days and nights under fire, be crippled and even die, rather than abandon the people they care about.
I have read this book multiple times, and I enjoy it every time. Probably the biggest reason is, Stephen Ambrose tried to make it a book that would make the reader ask the question, "What would I do in that situation? How would I react when faced with death or difficulty?"
It's a big question.
For those who have read, and/or watched Band of Brothers, and were amazed (as I was) by the quiet yet powerful and greatly effective leadership of Major Richard Winters, you might also enjoy:
These books are very also very well written, and have great insight into what makes an effective leader.
Again, much thanks to those who serve, and to their families.