What We can Learn from the Life of a WWII Hero

Col. Edward Shames was a World War II veteran and war hero, who was the last surviving member of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, known as the “Easy Company.” A Regiment whose legacy reached another generation through the HBO special “Band of Brothers,” created by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

Col. Shames was 99 years old at the time of his passing. He died peacefully at his Virginia Beach home according to his obituary.

The Life of a War Hero

Col. Shames and his “band of Brothers,” whom he fought alongside were men. Although they may have been the ages of boys at the time they signed up to fight in a war, far from their American neighborhoods, their actions proved that manhood is not so much about age but character.

According to Shames’ obituary, “he volunteered for Operation Pegasus and then fought with Easy Company in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne.”

He, like so many other men of his generation, chose to serve. He saw a need and pursued a solution that he could be a part of. That did not mean he wasted his time and talents on things that would not give him any inner satisfaction. Shames had no interest in being drafted but, instead, wanted to be a part of something different.

He read a newspaper advertisement for an experimental Parachute Infantry, and he went after his goal of joining with all his might. Out of 7,000 young men who tried out for the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment only “2,500 of the finest men in the country,” were chosen by the united states military. Shames was one of them.

He went on to have a legendary career throughout the war from parachuting onto the beaches of Normandy to following the trail of Hitler himself. He did his job and he did it well.

What Can We Learn from Such Men?

Today we view masculinity as a disease, a social construct that needs to be eliminated for our society. Yet it is basic principles of masculinity that can make the world a better place to live in.

True masculinity is not overbearing or abusive, as so many would have us believe. Instead, it is thoughtful, quick to listen, and slow to anger. It is willing to serve one’s God, family, and country. It never starts a fight but knows how to end one. Masculinity is the defender of the weak, the protector of women and children, the warrior for righteousness.

We teach men to be ashamed of the very nature that can bring balance, provision, and protection to society at large as well as the individuals with it. We swing from one extreme to the other perverting basic truths until they are misshapen monsters of our creation.

We can always perform better in the game when we memorize the basic mechanics of how to play. The same can be done in society, when men can go back and hone the skills of their basic natures of masculinity we can use those skills to create the next great generation of men who will make a better world for the generations to follow.

Related Posts