SAINTE-MARIE-DU-MONT, France -- With World War II-era military planes darting overhead and Normandy's Utah Beach visible in the distance, a bronze statue emerged from beneath a camouflage parachute, in tribute to a man whose quiet leadership was chronicled in the book and television series Band of Brothers.
The unveiling of the Colorado-made statue of Pennsylvania native Maj. Dick Winters was one of many events marking Wednesday's 68th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied operation that paved the way for the end of the war.
The 12-foot-tall bronze statue in the Normandy village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont shows Major Winters with his weapon at the ready.
But Major Winters -- a native of Ephrata, Pa., who died last year at age 92 -- only accepted serving as the statue's likeness after monument planners agreed to dedicate it to the memory of all junior U.S. military officers who served that day.
"There were many Dick Winters in this war, and all deserve the bronze and glory of a statue," said former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, present as the bronze statue was unveiled.
Also attending were four or five D-Day vets, including two who served in Major Winters' "Easy Company," Al Mampre and Herb Suerth, Jr.
Major Winters "was a humble, simple person thrust into a position of leadership in which he excelled," said Mr. Suerth, who heads the association of former Easy Company vets, only 19 of whom survive.
The statue was made in Loveland, Colo., and transported to France, to a roadside between the village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and Utah Beach, distant but visible behind the statue.
It was here that Major Winters and his small band of men dropped out of the sky soon after midnight on June 6, 1944, on a death-defying mission to destroy four German 105mm artillery guns that threatened the Allied invasion force.49.37902 -1.225989