“One of the truths about history that needs to be portrayed — that needs to be made clear to a student or to a reader — is that nothing had to happen the way it happened,” said David McCullough in a lecture at Hillsdale College some years ago.
Allied victory in World War II was by no means preordained. God-fearing, prayerful men like Dick Winters made it happen. America made it happen.
The final scene
of Band of Brothers
may be the most beautiful ever captured on film about war. Towards the end of that scene, the real-life Dick Winters recalls a story that a friend of his told him about a conversation he had with his own grandson: “I cherish the memories of a question my grandson asked me the other day, when he said, ‘Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?’ Grandpa said, ‘No. But I served in a company of heroes.’”
So few of those brave veterans who fought the war that saved civilization are still with us. We can only hope that someone will record their stories for posterity. Men like Maj. Dick Winters changed eternity because they changed history.
Ambrose said in a 2001 BBC interview that he hoped that, after reading his book, young people would say to themselves, “I want to be like Dick Winters.”
Don’t we all.
— Lee Habeeb is the vice president of content at Salem Radio Network, which syndicates Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, and Hugh Hewitt. He lives in Oxford, Miss., with his wife, Valerie, and daughter Reagan.