When Ordinary Men did Extraordinary Things

Ordinary Men

I confess yesterday even after writing about it, I was spitting mad over that stupid hit piece about Heisman trophy winner Kyler Murray’s old tweets.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been well that it bugged the living crap out of me.  Who knows?

So yesterday afternoon, I needed a break from our modern-day thin-skinned, easily offended culture.

I have the miniseries “Band of Brothers.”  So yesterday I sat down and watched all ten hours of it marathon-style.  Sure, it kept me up until midnight to do it.  But it was worth it.

If you’ve never seen it, “Band of Brothers” was an HBO miniseries from about eighteen years ago that chronicled the 101st Airborne’s Easy Company during World War Two.  It begins with their training in the states then follows from their drop into Normandy on D-Day to their operation in Holland then in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. And it concludes with their entrance into Germany and Austria at the end of the war.

It is very well done.  Some of it can be hard to watch, to be sure.  Seeing a man’s leg blown off by a mortar – even if it is special effects — is not pleasant viewing.  But “Band of Brothers” is powerful and moving from beginning to end.

These ordinary men chose to put their lives on hold to join the fight against Germany.

Ordinary men who accomplished the extraordinary.

The thing I like most about “Band of Brothers” is each episode opens with the real life men – now senior citizens – recounting their time in Easy Company during the war.

So not only do you have the dramatized version of these men and their extraordinary lives.  You also get their first-hand accounts in their own words.

On average, World War Two vets possessed at most an eighth grade education.  These guys weren’t the military elite.  They were shopkeepers, farmers, construction workers, cab drivers – ordinary men.

And yet those ordinary men saved the world.

It’s tragic that we are losing the Greatest Generation to the passing of time.

And it is made all the more tragic by the shifts in our culture today.

In a time where people fall to pieces over old tweets, the loss of the Greatest Generation is felt more keenly.

In today’s society, fragile, soft babies are crippled by a hurtful word.

But these ordinary men?  Hell, even bullets didn’t stop them.

The men of Easy Company who were injured in combat would go AWOL from the hospital to rejoin their unit.

And in today’s culture, those ordinary men would be called “toxic.”

How pathetic is that?

But I refuse to give up hope on this country because of these tender-bellied losers and crybabies who populate social media and academia.

Because there are still those today who choose to follow in the footsteps of those ordinary men from the Greatest Generation.  There are still those today who put their lives on hold to protect this nation in uniform.

Every now and then – especially when I feel as if I’m surrounded by soft, cringing fools — I need to remind myself of what ordinary men can do.

And not just the men of Easy Company.  But every man and woman who put on the uniform and keep us safe … and keep us free.

They really are extraordinary.

And we are forever in their debt.

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10 thoughts on “When Ordinary Men did Extraordinary Things

  • December 10, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    America has not had a President who killed for America since Ike. America has changed. Change is sometimes bad. Even very bad!

    Your quote, “Ordinary men who accomplished the extraordinary.” Is reasonable in post Ike America. What these men did was not considered extraordinary 60 years ago. Millions of Americans did, or tried to do what these guys did OVER AND OVER AGAIN from 1776 to 1945! They did not consider killing for America extraordinary. Nor did they think getting maimed for America was extraordinary.

    I had dozens of relatives who did just that from 1776 to 1945. None of them felt that they did anything “extraordinary”… they felt they did “what had to be done”!

    A significant part of this change in America has to do with our dishonest leaders (since we elected them it really has to do with us, huh?)

    The liberal ATLANTIC did a very good (I agree mostly; therefore its good!) analysis of The 4 wars America has lost since 1945. ATLANTIC says we started these wars not for military reasons, nor for defense of America, but to distract from serious problems here! The last 3 wars IMHO were just such wars, one is still going on after 15 years. America did not start Korea! Mao started the Korean War. Doug counterattacked – against HST’s direct orders. HST fired Doug and warriors lost confidence in the war. America in real terms lost ( the war is not over, it was an armistice – not a peace treaty).

    I have direct, personal experience in the next war. Which , to me, was the first America started. After being there several months I worked out JFK started the war to divert attention, his friend from Ford, who he made Sec Def, admitted such in his memoir about 20 years ago. I have a direct, personal, reason to hate Bobby – I was at Way (spelled HUE) in ’68. So did not read his book; but others who are combat vets have read it and told me my opinion was right on!

    What the men in BAND did was what ordinary America loving men did then; and had been doing for 150 years! I know none of them – I had 4 relatives killing for America, all killed Japs – but I am confident that The Band felt – unlike Spike – they were “doing the right thing”! Common, ordinary patriotic duty. Or at least 60 years ago it was:common, ordinary and patriotic.
    Change is frequently not progress!

    • December 16, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      Natzsofast, Guido.
      History fail.

      JFK- PT boat skipper – POTUS 35
      George H.W. Bush – 58 combat missions in the Pacific flying torpedo bombers – POTUS 41

      JFK starting the Vietnam War would have been a neat trick; the Gulf of Tonkin resolution wasn’t passed by Congress until August 1964, eight months after JFK was buried in Arlington Cemetery, and LBJ didn’t send the Marines into DaNang until 1965, seven more months after that.

      You’re entitled to your own opinions.
      But you don’t get to have your own facts contrary to actual history.

      • December 16, 2018 at 10:44 pm

        You forgot President Nixon served in the Navy in the Pacific during WWII. So we’ll have to give you a B+ for history. 😉

  • December 10, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Dianny, check out Netflix’s series Medal of Honor. It’s fantastic.

  • December 10, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Nice post, Dianny

  • December 11, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    If you ever get the opportunity, please buy and read a book written by a friend of mine called “The Navy Gave Me Shoes.” The author, Senior Chief Petty Officer Doug Bryant, is a World War II submarine veteran who served in the US Navy from 1943 until 1967. Prior to that, he came of age during the Great Depression. His views on those times are both amusing and sobering.

  • December 11, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    But note that a “eighth grade education” back in those days undoubtedly had better coverage of world history, U.S. history, civics, grammar, and literature than experienced In a K-12 schooling today.

  • December 12, 2018 at 11:31 am

    My step daddy was a SeaBee WWII Pacific…3 years after his passing , we buried him yesterday with full military honors…”Taps” was played, the Navy Honor guard was there, the flag unfolded then folded…….I have his flag, sleep well daddy. I love you.

  • December 14, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    My 93 year old Mother told me today that the war years were the best years of her life. She was young and living at the Y in Boston at $3.25 a week. Such nostalgia in her voice. Before she met Dad. Tells me a lot personally.

    My favorite Uncle was at Hickam Field on 12/07. Died decades later on vacation in Florida from a heart attack.

    I am so blessed.

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