Two of my boys will be home for the summer. I would of course prefer to have all of them home, but I will take what I can get! We are celebrating male bonding by playing fantasy baseball together and by watching all ten episodes of Band of Brothers. This is the first time that I have watched each installment in this mini-series that is based on the real experiences of World War II veterans.
The show has really affected me emotionally. I mentioned to the boys that most of the veterans interviewed before each episode are probably deceased now. Their personal accounts of the D-Day invasion and other war time experiences are truly moving. As I was watching the show last night, it occurred to me that in a church of over 650 members we only have a handful of World War II veterans still among us.
Last night as the three of us sprawled all over the furniture in the living room I was also reminded that there were parents in May of 1944 who had boys the age of mine serving overseas doing military service. I can’t imagine what that must have been like. Of course the whole idea of siblings serving their country during World War II formed the basis of the plot for Saving Private Ryan.
I was also reminded that my parents experienced this period of history firsthand. When I was about 16 years old, my mother told me that one of her favorite cousins came home on leave from the military in the spring of 1944. She was 17 at the time…He was killed during the D-Day invasion a few months later. My father was in pilot training preparing for a planned invasion of
Japan when the war ended in August of 1945.
I am glad I am watching Band of Brothers. It has been good for me. It has reminded me to cherish my relationships with the World War II veterans that are still among us. And I am thankful that my own little band of brothers is home for the summer, or at least not too far away. I fully realize that a generation of parents that went just before me was not as fortunate. Perhaps the tenacity of the Greatest Generation members will be rub off on me as I take in this excellent portrayal of a difficult time in history.