Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War World War II Soldier - Major Dick Winters  CSPAN  November 22, 2021 7:09pm-8:01pm EST

7:09 pm
podcast that has somebody for every listener, weekdays, washington today gives you the latest from the nation's capital and every week, book notes plus has in-depth interviews with writers about their latest works. the weekly uses audio from our immense archives to look at how issues of the day developed over years, our occasional series talking with, features
7:10 pm
extensive conversations with historians about their lives and work. many of the television programs are available -- you can find them on the c-span mobile app or wherever you get your podcasts. we are going to have a book talk on hang tough, the world war ii letters to the artifacts of major dick winters. we have both coauthors there today, eric dorks and derrick frederick. eric is the owner of the gettysburg -- had an early age, her began collecting relics from throughout this history. this broad range of artifacts has grown into one of the finest privately owned collections in the united states. among the treasures in the museum, it is the largest assortment of major thick -- in his wide array of historical
7:11 pm
adventures, erik has appeared on the history channel, sci-fi and the smithsonian channel. now on two jarred, jarred is the author of a number of books including the statues of d-day, a peoples invasion of -- the normandy invasion. prior to his current position, he served as a park ranger of the gettysburg national military park in harpers ferry national historic park. jared has a bird on c-span, pbs and numerous independent documentaries on the turner classic movies of the guest host. he also received awards for his teaching skills and efforts on behalf of student veterans. i must also add that this is especially sentimental to me because jared actually began his history career here at the gettysburg center. we were the national gift
7:12 pm
center -- he was a young 14 or 15 year old who came in here with a coloring book and then later sold greeting cards. he got his start here. it is pretty cool to see how he has blossomed into a true historian. thank you. without further introduction, i'm going to turn my program over to erik and jarred. thank you. >> thank you for the introduction, and thank you for having us. it is wonderful to be here with everybody on the anniversary of the battle of gettysburg. we will be telling eric's story here in just a little bit, some food for thought as we get started, i would like all of you to think about, what is friendship? what is the value of friendship? who is your best friend and why are they your best friend? >> interestingly enough, these are some of the key names that
7:13 pm
are as we were trying to explore the larger than life historical figure in the form of major dick winters. i think an analogy here in gettysburg on july 2nd is that we should think of dick winters as the josh or what chamberlain of world war ii. we can think of this for a number of reasons, their personalities, their backgrounds, education, upbringing, these were two young men who were born of pacifist families, they had this hard work, diligent attitude instilled in them as young man. they believed they could move through life and promote themselves through life through the power of higher education. neither of them had formal
7:14 pm
military education, and yet despite all of that, they would come to be some of the best known officers in the iconic clashes of their generation. why exactly is this so? well, popular culture has something to do with it. it has an interesting domino effect. both of these men have best selling books written, in which they are the main characters. both of those books, thereafter, are turned into wildly successful hollywood productions. they are the key protagonists. that leads us to a process of historical memory in which these two officers served notably and bravely had it not been for all of these other characteristics, they may otherwise have been a footnote to history. historical memory and popular
7:15 pm
culture play a really interesting and sometimes unusual component in regards to all of this. really, our story is about dick winters, the man behind the legend and what his letters and his artifacts have to tell us, these three quarters of a century later. to help us tell a little bit about that we're going to learn about erik's collection in the gettysburg museum of history. the gettysburg museum of history was founded in 2009, and in 2016 i was fortunate enough to obtain the dick winter's collection after a lot of we thought effort. he was we thought he appropriate for the was museum, because we appropriate for the museum interpreted not just civil war, but also other conflicts because and especially world war ii. besides the artifacts that were in that collection, uniforms, metals, weapons, things like that, there were his files. he kept a file on every man
7:16 pm
from the company. he worked closely with stephen ambrose. during the writing of the book. but one of the other things were time letters. there'd been several books written about dick winters, but the letters had been used a little bit but not their entirety. when i read these letters i was so blown away by their content that i thought we really needed to do something with them. because they were so special. we think of dick winters, people who have seen the series and read the books as you have a certain image of him as a real officer and very businesslike, but these letters were showing his human side. i just knew that we had to do something with them. i thought the book would be a good way to do it and present them in their entirety and of course we included photos of
7:17 pm
other artifacts as well. one thing we have to do is try to get a good foot forward -- since there were only two men left from easy company, i asked brad freeman who was one of dick winters men to write a forward, and i've become friends with him. i tortilla wrap with him twice. so i went down to his house in mississippi and i asked him if he would be willing to do that. he said he would really like to do that. i was very happy about that, brad at with that forward i think was really really brought a lot out. brad loves winters. he speaks so highly of him all the time and when i would show in the photos and some of the letters he would just light up. and it was just a great experience having him there right that forward.
7:18 pm
one of the big challenges that we had as we embarked as a scholarly adventure, was placing these letters into context so if you've seen the book or will see the book his lip letters are bridged with with miniatures essays that eric and i composed, because how does the regiment go from england to france to belgium, to germany, and for all intents and purposes this was a man who traveled through half a dozen different countries over the course of a year and a half. they saw some of the most clashes of their times. but our story begins in a rather unlikely place and that isn't asheville north carolina. it is in this city and the
7:19 pm
western regions of that state. where dick winters is going to form one of the most lasting and most profound of friendships that he will form during the second world war. this is what dick looked like when he graduated from franklin and marshall college from the faithfully or of 1941. after he graduated he essentially had two options. he could join military service of his own volition, do so on his own accord or he could wait for the compulsory draft. this is a man who was not anticipating on making a military career for himself. he thought, i'm going to do my one year of military service. i will get it done and out of the way and i can continue on with my life. amidst some of his training he ended up at camp cross in south carolina, which is right across the north carolina, south carolina border. he ended up spending a lot of
7:20 pm
time in this city. it was while he was stationed in this city that he meets a young lady who we see on the right. her name was -- she is not referenced at all in the hbo series. she gets occasional reference and some of the books on dick winters and his fabled unit. but i think it's important that we underscore the fact that even though she is not a well-known person she was one of the most important people in his life. and the written relationship, the pen pal relationship that they would develop throughout the second world war would allow dick winters to get through some of his darkest and toughest episodes in his military career. as the relationship continues to blossom they would even go
7:21 pm
horseback riding. right outside of asheville. it was after one of the horseback riding tours that they returned to asheville and they discovered pearl harbor had been bombed, and he said -- as pearl harbor attack was ongoing. throughout the next three years she would write him approximately 120 letters. he would respond and kind and that correspondence becomes the basis of our narrative. >> one of the really compelling artifacts in the museum's major winters photo i.d. card that you can see on the screen right there it shows how he rose to the ranks. he would cross out his rank as
7:22 pm
he would rise up to lieutenant and in the major. and one of dick's really good friends at camp kroft was a fellow gi from lancaster named trusted trenton who dick lovingly referred to as trent. you could see the illustration of him to the right of the screen. he was ultimately trent who convinced winters to join the airborne and head to fort -- as you could see from the words on the screen. dick was not too enthused about dropping out of a perfectly good airplane. trent dug up that old desire his to be a member of the parachute troops and i've been telling him he is nuts for that suicidal outfit. on january 22nd, 1942. not too long after pearl harbor. so he did change his mind. as we can see here. when he did change his mind,
7:23 pm
dick ended up in the ranks of the 5:06 parachute infantry regiment, which was located at camp tequila. we can see some of the camp here in the background and dick wrote to vienna, -- our battle cry. it's taken from a mountain -- curry, the coed don't georgia. three miles high rising 1200 feet that we used to run it and the record was 42 minutes and i made it in 44. i'm certainly no runner. just did it by plugging along, when i hit europe in my travels you will have a letter in each country of those places and a souvenir and that includes berlin and tokyo, if i must do it myself. here we see a man of sublime confidence and you can see he's involving himself in parachute training. so the copy of infantry and
7:24 pm
battle is one of the most fascinating winters artifacts nicolette shun when many men took weekends leave -- dick off and stayed behind in the barracks and read his book -- margins and absorbed the art of war. i really think that is part of the key of dick winter's success as a combat leader. a lot of guys would go out and have beer and go out on dates where dick would just stay behind and steady his manuals. he felt he had a job to do. >> that's my favorite artifact featured in the book. if you look at all the cool stuff like this really -- with an insider perspective with this guy is. writing in the margins. making notes. you could see the things he's learning from that journal, he's a leader going to apply it to his situation. i think it's really compelling
7:25 pm
stuffy that he bought at the post exchange during his training and the five or six regiment will eventually find himself in england. and the regiment will go there. it will cross the atlantic and september 1943 and they will spend the better part of the year training for the invasion affronts. they will end up here in this quaint little community known as -- where the troopers would endear themselves to the local populous and sometimes get into a little bit of trouble as paratrooper sometimes did. it was during this time that winter -- english household. so the people who lived there at the time, francis and louis may barnes, you could see them here. that couple had lost a son and
7:26 pm
service to the ari s. previously in a war. the winters became a replacement son in a way, for them. and he had this very warm relationship with the barnes family. even in the years after the war. he continued writing them. you can see some of the pieces of souvenirs from his time in england. use paper clippings and books that the barnes family put represented to him. and also within the collection of erik's museum, it's the jump uniform that dick war for the march 1944 practice jump that was witnessed by dwight eisenhower and winston churchill. so these are sure signs and indicators that big things are afoot and perhaps the invasion is only a few weeks away.
7:27 pm
i was during this time that dick's and beard himself a little bit further in regard to written correspondence with deetta almon. she herself joined the military service. she -- a female component of the naval service. he was really proud of her when she did this in march of 1944. and he wrote to her there should be a lot of smart modern things to say upon finding out that you've joined the way. but all i can say is what i feel and you've got which it takes. congratulations, rookie. and this was a very enduring word. with the means of supported these two members of the military which shared throughout the conflict. and his anticipation of the invasion really kind of reaches
7:28 pm
a fever pitch. once we get into early june of 1944. one of the most poetic things that he wrote to her was just four days before the invasion took place. he said to her. i'll tell you wet every night it taps i will meet you at the north star. the old north star is a soldiers guiding light when he's lost alone and feeling mighty funny in the pit of his stomach. that is when he feels good, when he can look up and know that there is somebody else looking up there as well. so some very sentimental words that he shares with her four days before the invasion and of course that big day, operation overlord. in the early morning hours of tuesday, june 6th. as we can see as depicted in this painting, he arrival for these paratroopers was a rather
7:29 pm
rocky one. you have about 13,000 allied airborne men and garner troops landing behind the lines, setting the stage, paving the path for the amphibious troops who will land only five or six hours afterward. it was their responsibility to destroy communications, disrupt german defenses. lay the groundwork for the bigger operation to come. and dick winters would find himself right in the midst of all of this. he said in his subsequent d-day diary, a portion of which he almost wrote in realtime, it's 1:10. ten minutes at -- all is quiet. there is some anti aircraft fire blue green red tracers coming up to me and she, it seems to come slow. they're pretty wild with it slow
7:30 pm
, look out! there after us now. he read this about two weeks after the invasion. it is almost still fresh in his mind. he is writing it in a realtime fashion as we can see here. when he and his troops landed on the ground certainly there angsty and their frustration and sense of danger was not alleviated at all. this is what i think is one of the most compelling aspects that he wrote, also in his d-day diary. he and his man landed on the outskirts of san mary glees, which is one of the main convergence points for allied troops in the early morning hours. he said, those church fouls weren't trolling a request for us to come to church, but an alarm to all the countryside that we had arrived. what followed, of course, is history. but it sure gave me a funny feeling. machine gun fire and rifle fire did not scare me.
7:31 pm
but those bells, being all alone with only a knife, gave me the feeling of being hunted down by a pack of wolves. in my mind, that is as erie and account as one can provide, that these private paratroopers were providing here as they were landing behind enemy lines. winter is drew a map that was included with his, what he calls his d-day diary. the d-day diary was six pages typed. he sat down, sometime after the battle of karen tan when he was wounded, and he got a hold of a typewriter. he actually wrote six pages. it -- he did it not because he had any kind of ambition of writing a book with stephen ambrose later or anything else, but rather that he recognize the importance of that day. i think he wanted to reflect
7:32 pm
upon it. it is one of the best firsthand accounts of that battle and also d day, i think, it is so fresh. it is literally two weeks after it happened. the map there, he drew from memory. there were four german guns there that him and a few guys took on d day. part of that was that he was awarded the distinguished service cross for that action, which is our nation's second highest award. he was put in for a medal of honor by colonel sink, but it went down to the drc for political reasons. they only gave one medal of honor for each unit on d-day. here we see his field glasses and his 1911, the binoculars were carried by winters throughout the war. you can see how added some personalization to the leather
7:33 pm
case. he had his name on top, which was actually written on a piece of medical tape. he also painted the 5:06 emblem, which was this bag from a deck of cards in the second italian tick at the bottom at the 6:00 position. they usually did that on their helmets. it is very unusual, for someone who has seen a lot of world war ii artifacts, i've never seen it on a binocular case. that is a very neat piece. the 1911, if you can see there, it is not the one he carried on d day, but it is the one we have in our collections. the store we got and the story that was in his files is that he had the early 1911 that he carried all through training. right before the day he was able to obtain a newer 1911 a one, that is the one he carried on d day. if you've seen the hbo series, or read the book band of brothers, you will know that he lost his equipment due to the
7:34 pm
prop blast from jumping too fast. the plane was going too fast. it ripped his equipment off. when he landed, he had no weapon. he just had a knife. he later obtained a weapon from a killed inaction soldier. this 1911 he got, it was sent over when his foot locker came over because there is photos of him with a 1911 in the metals ceremony in karen tan. he carried it throughout the rest of the war. and then finally, you see that photo at the bottom right. it is probably one of the most famous band of brothers related photos, stephen ambrose chose to use that very image on the book. band of brothers. that is what you see there are paratroopers from easy company in the town of st. murray do mauve. it was taken after d-day when they met up with the fourth infantry division. the guy on the far left, for a
7:35 pm
throw left is a guy named forest goose. he had the camera with him. it was rods strolls camera and rob did not want to carry it, because they were told not to bring any cameras are diaries into normandy because if they get captured with a camera it could be possible that the germans could get intelligence from that. but forest goof, good for us, disobeyed those orders and took one with him. he tucks one of the most amazing photos of the company on d day in the days just after d-day. that has become one of the most iconic photos. it is hard to see, but forest goof has and 1911 on a shoulder rig at his chest. the gettysburg museum of history recently just obtained that weapon from forest goose goose sun. that is a de-day carried weapon with photos of it there.
7:36 pm
i will wait on that. >> we have so much we want to say and so little time to say. it certainly, the fighting in normandy did not de-escalate after june 6th, or seventh. one of the major objectives of the 101st airborne would set its sights on next was this cross community of karen tan. karen tan was a vital community in order to connect the american beach heads at omaha beach and utah beach. this is where dick winters and his men would be sent next. it's during this very first firefight going from street to street and house to house, that winters is actually wounded. a bullet ricocheted pierces the tongue of his boot and he was hobbled for the next several days. the amazing thing about it, is
7:37 pm
that the 101st airborne -- had a very active public relations department. they wanted every newspaper back home to know that the troopers within that regiment, within that division, we are doing their part to win the war. so lo and behold, in the lancaster new era, about a week and a half after the battle for karen ten took place, there was a great little right up about dick winters in his hometown newspaper. it said he went into the frontlines when the ss troops counter attacked karen tan on the night of june 12th and the morning of june 13th. he was commended by his c o, commanding officer, the dispatch stated. he said that it was lieutenant winners's personal bravery and battle knowledge that held a crucial position when the going was really tough. even before band of brothers, or anything like that, at least his hometown folks knew that
7:38 pm
dick winters was a very able officer impede. amidst all of this, dick was also prone to capturing some souvenirs as well. the leather gloves that you see there are actually german paratrooper gloves. they would wear gloves to be able to pull onto their risers and to control their parachutes. they were a prize war trophy for american soldiers because they were really high quality and really nice. it is one of dick winters souvenirs. it is probably one of the first ones he picked up. we can see in the photo next to it is a picture of dick winters later and life wearing these gloves. he prized those most through most of his life. we have them at the museum now to. the jacket, we believe, is still in the hands of his family but we would like to get that at some point to. >> who wouldn't?
7:39 pm
>> here is the really special story. it was today, in 1940 for july 2nd, that dick winters was awarded the distinguished service cross. this is a very rural rare photo that is featured within our book. we cannot only see dick here in the front, but we also see a number of other well-known personalities. over here on the left, we see general maxwell taylor who is the commander of the 101st airborne division. also, up here, general omar bradley who presented these troopers their metals. it is very appropriate that we are all here together on july 2nd, the anniversary of this event. operation market garden was initiated on september 17th, 1944. the allied leaders sought to
7:40 pm
ram the heart of germany via a single advance through nazi occupied holland. all of this was done in hopes of bringing the war to an end by christmas. here, the objectives of winters and his fellow troops parachute regiment was to -- the bridges in the vicinity of -- the allied advances success was dependent upon timing in many operational hurdles that led to the campaign back firing in more ways than one. showing not to be recognized by the enemy as an officer figure -- officers became a target for snipers -- winters had a zippered map case sewn into his new m 43 jump jacket. there is also some other pockets sewn in on the inside. paratroopers were known for customizing their equipment. airport warfare was new, they
7:41 pm
kind of made adjustments as they needed it. i have never seen this particular modification on any other uniform in our collection or anyone else is. it is a way that officers would carry a map case, so if a german sharper would see that, they would pick them out and maybe they would become a target of the sniper. also, something else winters were known for doing was turning his collar up, because he would wear collar brass and try to hide their insignia. that way he could blend in. another thing, we saw his binoculars case, but he did not carry binocular case into combat. what he did was he would wear them around his neck and keep them in his jacket so he could pull them out as necessary. but not have that case. a map case, binocular case, color ras, something on your helmet with a captain's bar will make you a target for those german snipers. we shortly after the 101st
7:42 pm
airborne is still in holland, winters endures wet is, in my view, one of his most searing experiences. it was one that long resonated in his mind. it is so evocatively conveyed in the crossroads episode of a band of brothers. his platoon was meandering through the foggy dutch countryside, and he realized he had to take -- he had to attack -- against a german force that was much larger than his own. in the midst of all of this, he comes across a young german century as the attack is unfurling. this is what he later had to say about encountering this young man. he said, in jumping up on the dike, there is this young soldier right across the road from me. he was directly on the other
7:43 pm
side of that road from me, about two steps away. it was just a narrow dirt road coming up from the river. i came up directly across from him, eyeball to eyeball. he was just as shocked as could be, i leveled off at him. the thing i can never forget is that he smiled and as he smiled, i shot him. it is incredibly up close, personal and this was a thought, a memory that long haunted dick winters for many years that followed. >> shortly after that, once we get into december of 1944, dick had some much warranted reprieve in paris. here is another rare photo, we
7:44 pm
can see him here on the left in front of the arc de triomphe, the big tough guy that he is he is the only guy without an overcoat on which is quite telling. just a few days later, on christmas day, there was a highly anticipated football game that was to be had within the 101st airborne division that was going to be known as the champagne bowl. that game never took place because a few days prior, the two thundered thousand german troops broke through the ardennes forest, thus initiating the battle of the bulge. here to, dick winters and the 101st airborne would be at the forefront of this pivotal clash, at this crossroads community. this is one of those iconic stands of the ages. it has been depicted in many books, films, so on and so forth. their defensive backs stones
7:45 pm
against these overwhelming numbers lasted more than a week through bitter winter conditions. the fighting went on, well into january of 1945 until the americans were able to regain a lot of the lost territory. this was a very grueling time. of this time, by this moment index letters, you get a sense that he has become more cynical. he has a darker view of the world. there is an added edge to a lot of his correspondence to diana, back in the states. he wrote here in january 1945, just as the battle was coming to an end, since i am in the army, i daydream of fights, fighting juries, outmaneuvering, armenia daydream out thinking, outshooting and it out thinking them, fighting them. but they're intense. but they're tense, cruel, cruel. hard and hard. bitter. they consist of bitter. they can sense about 80% about 80% of of my dreams. my dreams but they pay but they pay off. off, you would be you'd be surprised surprised. . sometimes sometimes when you when you dream over dream over and and over over a problem you get a problem you get the
7:46 pm
solution. it the solution. also shows us that so sometimes he sometimes has a glass half full -- always looking at the silver lining to a dark situation. but early may the hundred first airborne among many others allied units reach the highly symbolic known as -- . this photo was taken just near the town of bridges garden. and also shown in that photo is very real and the other famous officers portrayed here. . luis nixon, one of his close friends, there was a few weather there. but during this time they were seizing war trophies. we talked about that before, but one was a big prize war
7:47 pm
trophy. it was hitler's silver. these guys were looking for war trophies. they were looking for something that was valuable. they all grew up in the depression so they were taking pistols, useful items like the gloves that we saw earlier. but when they got here at the garden they took hitler's silver set. some of the lucky members of the 5:06 parachute infantry regiment, especially the guys that got into the eagles nest on the mountain got some of hitler's silver and mailed it home. we have a big collection of that in our museum, and it's fascinating. people love that. it's all engraved with hitler's initials, h and the national eagle. and also allow me to read this excerpt. how can i sit back and see other men, sorry, how can i sit
7:48 pm
back and see them get killed because i don't know. they don't have it. maybe i'll get killed. hurt or killed for my trouble, but so would if i can make it possible for many others to go home. their mothers -- the same as me. so what else can i do and still hold my self respect as an officer and a man. at that point they were getting ready to possibly read japan and go over to the pacific. dick winters wanted to get over there sooner than later because he thought as a trained combat officer he could do good over there. why everyone in his family was saying he did enough. he wanted to go. he made the move to try to go over to one of the units that were going over right away. again it shows a lot about his character. >> indeed. there's also some comical elements that we could find in his letters. we will share some of these as
7:49 pm
we begin to finish up today. they catalog of opinions about other service branches. he was not hesitant to let the others know. this is what he said about the marine corps. really the only branch of service that he had any respect for. he said the marine dole war, the rest of canada are. stand on the service of supply he will provide food and supply and whatnot. they wear the uniform and draw the paper, that's. they just don't know the score. they can't even walk or act like a soldier. on the air forces i spent the evening in london, the most lonesome might have had in years. all aircraft men and not a manner of soldier in the bunch. i cannot talk to any of them. boys, kids, no doubt. and of course since he's writing to a young lady in the navy, the navy gets the worst tongue lashings of all. he said now that you are in the navy, you are just another member of the ferryboat command. that's something i guess you
7:50 pm
missed and the navy. i mean the soldiering part. maybe i am a victim of propaganda, but what is the difference between the sailor and a [inaudible] . why as a soldier i see more of the sea than you ever had or will. you are just a land found -- a little harsh at times but a little bit of banter we see her nonetheless. we're running out of time here, we will quickly wrap them things up. here in all reality we think about the meaning of this friendship and i think this excerpt says it best. he says i'll never forget your when letter saying, and when you're in a tight spot remember you've got to come back. so by gosh, what happened in the biggest and toughest fight i was ever in? i'm so pooped i can hardly walk after three nights and four days of no rest, and i'm running through an actual hail of bullets, two or three times
7:51 pm
an hour and i'm not getting, it was hail. this one time i'm halfway through and the machine gun opens up on, meet down i go and he thinks he has me, i am playing dead and what do i think? yes, she said i've got to come through. and here i am today. a lucky fellow. i think that sums it up as best as anybody can. they did stay in touch now and again. they had a reunion for her birthday in may of 1996, and here we see the old pen pals reunited 51 years after the fact. that is when a friendship is, oakes. just to leave you on some words of inspiration here as we finish up. we've all gone through tough times over the past year and a half, amidst the pandemic. i mean these words, i found some residents in them. he said i have one message to all. hang tough.
7:52 pm
do your best every day. you don't have to know all the answers. no way. don't expect that of yourself. just do your best. satisfy yourself so that at the end of the day you can look into the mirror after you've brush your teeth and say honestly to yourself, today i did my best. if you do that everything is going to be okay. and with those words i can't think of a better way to wrap it up other than to say hang tough. thanks for tuning in today. [applause] i believe we have a few minutes for questions, so ... >> what was the hardest artifact to get? >> the initial whole collection was very difficult to get. i had to convince the person
7:53 pm
who is in possession of it to let us have it and come up with the funds to be able to acquire it. i tried for years to get just anything of dick winters, because there were a few items and other collections, when all of a sudden we got almost everything. >> [inaudible] >> it did not happen like that. >> but also, one thing that we forgot to mention is a lot of people don't know this, but dick winters actually lived in our area for a while. he was from the lancaster area. he retired to hershey but he actually lived outside of new oxford from 1955 to 1960. we kind of claim him as an adams county guy to. >> wouldn't dick winters think about his popularity after the movie came out and the book came out? >> at first, the question was
7:54 pm
regarding how it it's dick see his popularity after the war came out? at first he tried to be very accommodating. he responded to all the letters. he sent out autographs and this and that. but eventually, it really got to him. he had to have his name and address and phone number unlisted in the phone book. he got appeal box at the post office rather and getting his mail. at home. he just could not keep up with the level of celebrity that went along with it. but he hung on there as long as he could to try to accommodate as many people as he could, because he was a real champion of the story and he was a historian and end of his own rights. he kept meticulous records. if it weren't for him keeping those records stephen embers never would have had the material or context to write this book. so we owe him a huge debt of
7:55 pm
gratitude not only for his service but for so sufficiently cataloguing and preserving the stories. >> i have two -- people who know me know i could not come out for something like this without bringing something for show and tell so ... this is dick winters 1911 and he carried through most of world war ii. just not d w. if anybody wants to have a closer look at it after we are finished you can check it out. >> did he remain close with any of his men and women with nixon? >> do you want to take it or do you want me to take it? dick did remain very close with lots of his men. especially nixon. because he went to work for him and he maintained that contact
7:56 pm
with them. he participated in the reunions. it was because of that close relationship because all the stuff for presented -- he got these guys back for interviews and everything. he did stay in contact, especially with nixon and floyd. he was a favorite of his. several other, harry wells. >> i'll just add real quick. he kept a file for every one of his soldiers possible. whenever they wrote a letter he made a photocopy and put it in a file folder. he had cabinets in his office and this guy was meticulous. and so he kept in touch with him very thoroughly. >> yes, we have the major dick winter's file and easy company files. along with his photo albums. that's amazing too and i have
7:57 pm
to give a little bit of credit to dick winter's wife. she was a librarian and she is the one that helped keep everything organized so we'll her as well. >> dick winters, did he share any -- >> they didn't call it that then, but it would be impossible to not get that. >> yeah. we're going to wrap it up with this one. in short, yes. he did cope with ptsd. in one of his letters he was back in lancaster after the war and he was walking down the streets when they and the little kid kept running up the sidewalk and the child ran a stick along a picket fence and in his mind it's not just like a german machine gun. and as he later wrote he dove
7:58 pm
into the gutter taking cover, because that staccato sound was kind of like a machine gun to him. as he said in the book and in the series there is a reason he bought a farm he bought in south central pennsylvania to find quiet solitude. in my mind, it's to help him cope with a lot of the things. thank you for your questions and thank you all for coming out today. [applause]
7:59 pm
8:00 pm

53 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on