Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

RIP Charles Durning

I always loved him in his serio-comedic roles like Tootsie and Rescue Me.  He was the quintessential character actor.  I knew he landed on D-Day, but the rest of his bio escaped me.

Durning was part of the U.S. force that landed at Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion in June 1944. A few days later he was shot in the hip - he said he carried the bullet in his body thereafter - and after six months of recovery was sent to the Battle of the Bulge.

Durning, who was wounded twice more, was captured and was one of the few survivors of the Malmedy massacre when German troops opened fire on dozens of American prisoners. In addition to three Purple Heart medals for his wounds, Durning was presented the Silver Star for valor.

At an observation of the 60th anniversary of D-Day in Washington, Durning told of the terror he felt and carnage he saw when hitting the beach on D-Day. He said he had to jettison his weapon and gear in order to swim ashore and saw mortally wounded comrades offering themselves as human shields.

"I forget a lot of stuff now but I still wake up once in a while and it's still there," he said. "I can't count how many of my buddies are in the cemetery at Normandy."

Just like with Daniel Inouye, we are losing a generation of heroes who were mostly quiet about what they went through.

Sadly, we are creating another generation of young men and women who will bear terrible burdens for the rest of their lives.

Peace on earth, people.  Peace on earth.

No comments: