In 2001, the members of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army were featured in a powerful HBO miniseries entitled the Band of Brothers. I followed the miniseries with great interest and became deeply intrigued by their story, and genuinely inspired by the acts of courage of these men. I have remained committed to understanding their history ever since. On June 4th, 2011, after several months of planning, I embarked on an intense two week European journey to trace the footsteps of the Band of Brothers with my camera in hand.
I must constantly remind myself that although the Band of Brothers is a Hollywood creation, it is based on fact. On the 6th of June 1944 this group of heroic young men, along with thousands of others, took part in an early morning airborne operation that began the Invasion of Europe or what most of us call D-Day. They relentlessly fought their way eastward across the northern European continent until they reached Hitler’s Eagles Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany in the spring of 1945. These young soldiers were doing their part to bring an end to a horrific war, and no doubt dreamt of returning home to lead normal lives. Sadly, many didn’t return home.
On my journey I made meaningful visits to three of our military cemeteries scattered throughout France, Belgium and Luxembourg. The cemeteries are immaculately maintained by U.S. Government staff utilizing local labor, and are truly works of art in a peculiar kind of way. Wandering through now peaceful ground, reading row after row of names on perfectly aligned white marble crosses was a humbling experience and a haunting reminder that thousands have died to provide us with the precious gift of freedom.
The black and white images contained in this book serve as a photographic sampling of the places I had the honor to visit during my journey. The last photograph in this series entitled: The Scars of War … 67 Years Later is presented in color as a special tribute to Americans who gave everything they had, including their life, to preserve peace in the world.
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