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D-day anniversary brings honor to Easy Company

June 06, 2012|By Michael Muskal

To commemorate the 68th anniversary of D-day -- the Allied invasion that paved the way for the end of the World War II in Europe -- a statue honoring Maj. Dick Winters and his fellow front-line leaders was unveiled in France.

The story of Winters and his fellow soldiers of Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division was the subject of the 2001 miniseries, "Band of Brothers."

The 12-foot bronze statue was unveiled in the Normandy village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and shows Winters with his weapon at the ready. Winters, a native of Ephrata, Pa., who died last year at age 92, accepted serving as the statue's likeness after monument planners agreed to dedicate it to the memory of all junior U.S. military officers who served that day, the Associated Press reported.

"There were many Dick Winters in this war, and all deserve the bronze and glory of a statue," former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said at the ceremony, the wire service reported.

Also attending were several veterans of the D-day invasion including two from Easy Company, Al Mampre and Herb Suerth Jr. Recently elected French President Francois Hollande participated in commemorations as well.

The statue was made near Boulder, Colo., and moved to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont. Winters and his fellow troops parachuted into the area after midnight on June 6, 1944, and later destroyed four German 105-millimeter guns that threatened the Allied invasion force.

Winters "was a humble, simple person thrust into a position of leadership in which he excelled,‚ÄĚ Suerth told the wire service. He heads the association of former Easy Company veterans, of whom just 19 still survive.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

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michael.muskal@latimes.com

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