Remembering paratroopers

I find post fodder in interesting circumstances. In this case, it was a conversation with my son about the game “Call of Duty” and his German class, which led to us watching “The Longest Day”. After watching the scene where Red Buttons, who portrayed paratrooper John Steele, gets caught on the church spire, I decided to look up the village of Sainte-Mère-Église.

Sainte-Mère-Église not only has an Airborne Museum honoring the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, they also have an effigy of John Steele hanging from his parachute on the church spire. One stained glass window depicts the Virgin Mary and two paratroopers, another window has St. Michael surrounded by the insignia of the various units that liberated the town. (Click to embiggen images.)

John Steele was taken prisoner by the Germans but escaped and rejoined the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. A restaurant in the town honors his memory.

4 thoughts on “Remembering paratroopers”

  1. Actually, the effigy is hanging on the wrong corner of the church, but it happens to be the side that faces the open square (and is the corner used for Red Buttons because it was much more interesting than the corner that faces the laundry pond where Earl McClung of Easy Company landed). My favorite stained-glass windows commemorating paratroopers are over in the tiny commune of Angoville-au-Plain’s little church.

  2. The British paratroopers wear a Pegasus as their insignia in honor of Pegasus Bridge, also known as the Bénouville Bridge.

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