Photo by Richard Matthews, used under Creative Commons license

“From this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remembered”

I realized yesterday that Frank Perconte must have died.

After work yesterday I flipped on the TV and saw an episode of Band Of Brothers (imdb) in the guide. I watched it, as is always the case when I see an episode, despite having watched every episode dozens of times. It is, in my opinion, probably the best single piece of TV ever made. Anyway, it was the final episode, “Points”, where Easy Company’s story is wrapped up and we hear a bit about what happened to a few of the men who made it through WWII. I looked up the list of Easy veterans, just as I did the last time I watched “Points”, and noticed that the oldest remaining veteran — Frank Perconte — wasn’t there. Sure enough, he passed away last week at the age of 96.

Perco. Shit.

It surprises me how upset I get about these guys passing away. I’ve watched the series enough times that I feel like I know them a little, even though for the most part I only know what the actors look like. I was actually really sad when Dick Winters died a few years ago. I was sad about Shifty Powers and Buck Compton. I was even sad that David Webster died in 1961, alone on the sea.

Only 22 of these guys are still alive, among them some familiar names for fans of the series, especially Guarnere, Heffron, and Malarkey.  Here’s hoping I’m still writing about them next October.

(Edit: Babe Heffron died in December 2013)

(Edit: Bill Guarnere died in March 2014)

.:.

Photo by Richard Matthews, used under Creative Commons license

"Grandpa said, 'No…but I served in a company of heroes.'"

Anyone who has watched the HBO miniseries Band Of Brothers knows the name Dick Winters. He was the lieutenant played by Damien Lewis, and the central figure of the series. He led Easy Company and rose to the rank of major by the end of the war. He fought in Normandy (where he won the Distinguished Service Cross), Holland and Bastogne. Ten hours of television isn’t enough to give the true measure of a man, but by the end of the series all who watched it felt inspired by Dick Winters.

And so, it saddened me to learn that Dick Winters passed away last week. From what little I learned of him by watching the DVDs and reading a few recent interviews, his quiet passing, lacking all fanfare, would be just how he would have wanted it.

If you haven’t seen Band Of Brothers, I beg you…rent it, buy it, download it, steal it…but  watch it. Learn about Easy Company and the men who fought in it, especially the extraordinary ones like Dick Winters.