Submitted by First United Methodist Church of Dalton
The public is invited to a screening of the video “Major Dick Winters, In His Own Words” on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. in Famber Hall at First United Methodist Church, 500 S. Thornton Ave.
There is no charge to watch the movie, which is approximately 90 minutes. The movie contains harsh language and war scenes. It may not be suitable for younger viewers.
Winters was the leader of Easy Company during World War II and was interviewed extensively by filmmakers Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg.
The First United Methodist Church in Dalton has a Wednesday night class that studies the history of World War II. Through the years, class members have studied many facets of the battles throughout the world that led to the defeat of Hitler and his German army in May 1945, followed by the defeat of Japan in September 1945.
One of the key elements important to the Allies’ success in invading Europe on “D-Day,” June 6, 1944, was the actions of the American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, plus the contributions of the British 6th Parachute Infantry Regiment in preparing the way to move off the coast of Normandy, then though France, Belgium and Holland on the way to victory in Germany.
Stephen Ambrose, an American historian who wrote about World II, brought the story of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101th “Screaming Eagles” Division, to the attention of the world with his book “Band of Brothers,” published in 1988. “Band of Brothers” was a best seller on the New York Times best seller list for many weeks, and catapulted the men of Easy Company to new-found fame.
In 2001, Hanks and Spielberg brought “Band of Brothers” to HBO with a 10-part series detailing the actions of Easy Company who had helped the Allies to victory over Germany.
The outstanding leader of Easy Company was Winters. His leadership style was to be physically and mentally ready, thoroughly knowledgeable about his men, plan out an attack considering contingencies, then lead from the front. His men respected and loved him as they understood he always planned, participated and led from the front.
In preparation for the HBO series, Hanks and Spielberg spent many hours interviewing surviving veterans of Easy Company. Winters received special attention from the duo as they built the “Band of Brothers” series. The bond they developed with Winters and his leadership style resulted in the video “Major Dick Winters, In His Own Words,” which combined Winters’ take on leadership supported by excerpts from the HBO series. The video is the personal property of Hanks and Spielberg, and copies of it have only been given to a chosen few with rules that they cannot copy the video and can only show it with their permission.
The Whitfield-Murray Historical Society and First United Methodist Church World War II class asked for and received permission to show the video from representatives of Hanks and Spielberg.
Winters lived in Hershey, Pa., and was an active member of the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society until his death in 2011. He donated all his World War II memorabilia to the Historical Society. On April 15, 2012, Marylee and Ralph Williams had the honor of viewing the video, shown by the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society in the Lutheran Church in Ephrata, Pa., where Winters is buried.
During the Wednesday night classes on Oct. 17 and 24, attendees will review the book “Band of Brothers.” Anyone from the community is invited to attend to join in this review to prepare to view “In His Own Words.” The meetings are held in Room 243 at First Methodist beginning at 5:45 p.m. You do not have to be a member of the church to attend.