A Memory for Memorial Day

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I was watching the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (as I usually do around Memorial Day each year), and in watching Episode 3, I got curious about Albert Blithe, the paratrooper who struggles with fear after landing in France on D-Day.

I recalled seeing the man who played him, English actor Marc Warren, in an extremely odd Dr. Who episode last season, and I started thinking about the differences between the two characters, and some slight imperfections in his accent, and so I looked up more information about the actor, and the man he was playing.

The miniseries notes that Albert Blithe never recovered from a shot to the neck shortly after D-Day, and died from his wounds in 1948. He did not.

In fact, though Blithe was portrayed in the show as a young man who was crippled by fear and never did much remarkable -- getting shot mere weeks after D-Day -- Blithe actually went on to a distinguished military career.

He was honorably discharged in 1949, and went on to serve in Korea, jumping over 600 times, being named Paratrooper of the Year, and being awarded two more Purple Hearts, three Bronze Stars, and a Silver Star, and achieving the rank of Master Sergeant.

He retired from the military in 1963, but was back for a third time in 1967. He died later that year in Germany of kidney failure -- shortly after participating in a commemoration of the Battle of the Bulge, in which his division, the 101st Airborne, famously helped hold the line against the Germans -- and was buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetary.

His family must have been quite upset at seeing Blithe's career misrepresented -- not that the events in France were grossly misrepresented (apart from his really being shot in the shoulder, not in the neck), but his distinguished career following was blotted out -- but at least now, the truth is out there.

Thanks to Albert Blithe and all those who have served. slashdot.org

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