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Band of Brothers hero Dick Winters, R.I.P.

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 10, 2011 10:43 PM

An American war hero was buried yesterday. We will never forget:

Via Larry Alexander at LancasterOnline.com:

Standing by the grave of Major Richard D. Winters on Sunday, gazing at the American flag fluttering in the icy January wind, this reporter felt a profound sense of loss.

Winters, the Lancaster County native who rose to worldwide fame as leader of the Band of Brothers during World War II, died Jan. 2 at Conestoga Cottage hospice center in Campbelltown, Lebanon County, where he had been a patient for three weeks.

He was just 19 days shy of his 93rd birthday.

Winters’ death and burial last week were as private as his life has been of late, as his once robust health began to fail.

A public memorial will be held at a time and place to be announced.

Winters’ passing was not unexpected, but the finality of it is still difficult to grasp, both for friends like me and for the men who served under him.

“You could not find a better man than Dick Winters,” William “Wild Bill” Guarnere said Monday. “He was such a leader.”

Guarnere, who lives in Philadelphia, mentioned the current effort to erect a statue in St. Marie du Mont in France, honoring American army officers. The statue will be a likeness of Winters.

“It’s a statue to leadership,” Guarnere said. “That speaks for itself. Everybody knows about him, not only us who served with him.”

He was a leader to the end, say his fellow soldiers of Easy Company:

Even as Parkinson’s disease began taking its toll on Dick Winters, who led his “Band of Brothers” through some of World War II’s fiercest European battles, the unassuming hero refused, as always, to let his men down.

Friends accompanied him to public events, subtly clearing a path through the adoring crowds for the living legend, whose Easy Company’s achievements were documented by a book and HBO miniseries. His gait had grown unsteady, and he did not want to be seen stumbling.

Winters “didn’t want the members of Easy Company to know,” William Jackson said Monday of his longtime friend, who died last week at age 92. “Right up to the end, he was the company commander.”

Be sure to visit Major Winters’ CMOH website for a full recounting of his courage under fire at Normandy.

R.I.P.

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