Jordan Brown is a 13-year-old World War II buff who embarked upon a campaign to ensure that the WWII vets who served on D-Day are memorialized. This blog follows his journey to Normandy, France to watch the unveiling of the Major Dick Winters monument that he helped raise money to fund.
Hello everyone. I thought you might be interested in hearing what I had to say at today's dedication ceremony so here is my speech. I hope you like it. Jordan
Bonjour. Je m'appelle Jordan Brown. Hello. My name is Jordan Brown. Thank you for inviting me here. I really want to thank Tim Gray for his hard work to get a monument built to remember everyone that served here on D-Day.
Sixty-eight years ago, right here where we are standing, things looked very different. American soldiers had just entered into WWII and had landed on the beaches of Normandy to free the world from the Germans. If we had not won that war, this world would be very different . WWII would determine whether we would continue to be free or if we be ruled by others.
The soldiers who landed here were from a different country. They spoke a different language. They had different customs. They gave their lives to make sure that evil would be conquered and freedom would prevail.
More than 4-thousand Allied troops died in Normandy on June 6th, 1944. That was 4-thousand men who would never get to have families, children, and grandchildren. That was 4-thousand mothers and fathers and countless brothers and sisters who lost someone they loved on June 6th, 1944.
More than 50-thousand Allied forces died during the entire Battle of Normandy. It is hard to imagine what they saw here in Normandy. But they knew they had to be courageous in order to win.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but knowing that something else is more important than fear. Those brave men did what was right and gave the world's children the gift of freedom.
It took incredible leadership to make sure their mission was accomplished. Some men had to take charge because their leaders died on D-Day. One of those men was Major Dick Winters.
Major Winters is my hero. When I learned that this monument was going to look like him, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. And here I am.
I gave out these wristbands that say "Hang Tough" on them. Those words were inspired by Major Winters. I'll tell you THAT story later...
These wristbands, donations and other events helped raise more than $99,000! And, that money helped to build this monument.
I was ELEVEN when I started this project. NOW, I am THIRTEEN! I have been asked why Major Winters is my hero. There are many reasons.
Yes, he successfully led his "Band of Brothers". But there are other things that he did that made him my hero. He always led his troops from the front. He was always honest with his men and therefore they trusted him. He never thought of himself as anything special. Not even after the war.
Not even after the book Band of Brothers came out. Not even after the mini-series brought him fame. He remained humble. He always remembered his 'brothers'.
Sixty-six years later, when he was approached about building this monument, he only agreed to let it look like him if only if it were dedicated to all who served here on D-Day.
After sixty-six years, he was still just as humble. He was still teaching us how to lead and how to live. And now... here's the STORY I promised you...
Major Winters made famous the words "Hang Tough". He told these words to his paratroopers when they landed on D-Day. He said these words when the fighting got tough.
These were the words he continued to tell people after the war. When he signed things, he would add the words "Hang Tough."
To me, "Hang Tough" means to "hold on". To keep going even when things get hard. To never give up until you reach your goal. They inspire me!
The words were first used in combat. But, with two simple words he taught all of us how to live. Today, we stand here honoring all the men who served here on D-Day. Without their courage, life would be very different.
Many of them have died, including Major Winters, but their lessons of leadership, humbleness, and inspiring words like "Hang Tough" teach us how to live a good life.
Thank you again for inviting me here today. I will never forget today or the men that fought here 68 years ago. Today, the courage of these brave men will be forever remembered.
Thank you and Merci
Published in Hang Tough 6-6-44: A community blog