Tonight I watched the 4th part of The War. Quite honestly I almost could not because after watching the images and hearing the interviews in part 3 about the Anzio Operation I really didn’t think I could watch any more of the series.
I almost turned it off again tonight, which covered the D-Day invasion, Saipan in the Marianas, and Philippine Sea battles in the Pacific, but thought that if the men of that generation could fight then the least I could do was honor their memories by watching it.
Ken Burns is without doubt one of the most significant film makers of any generation. While his subject matter provides him much to work with, and without special effects or blockbuster budgets, he brings something out of these subjects that is difficult to describe. It’s soulful, almost as if a new emotion has been created in the process.
"The biggest thing I ever did in my life was get those 12 men off that beach."
- Staff Sgt. Walter Ehlers, U.S. Army 1st Division
Ehlers was wounded 4 times on D-Day at Omaha Beach and in the weeks following, his actions earned him the Bronze Star and Congressional Medal of Honor. He learned 5 weeks after D-Day that his brother Roland, who had fought by his side from North Africa to Sicily, was killed in his landing craft on Omaha Beach. When sent back to the U.S. following his CMH citation, Ehlers requested and was granted permission to return to Europe and finish the war with his batallion.