Damian Lewis (L) (Dick Winters in Band of Brothers) talks with 101st Airborne Veteran Jim “Pee Wee” Martin at Winters statue after wreath laying on June 7th, 2014 at leadership monument.
On June 6, 2012, the World War II Foundation dedicated the Richard D. Winters Leadership Monument in Normandy, France, recognizing all those Americans who led the way on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
The WWII Foundation raised all the money for the project from a combination of wonderful private and corporate donors, including David Alfonso, Curt Schilling and many of the actors from the Band of Brothers televison series. Young Jordan Brown and his family led a team in the USA that helped bring in nearly $100,000. Damian Lewis also lent his time signing rare prints to raise money and voiced the documentary on the leadership project.
Major Winters’ alma-mater, Franklin & Marshall College, also stepped up in a big way to honor one of their own.
Located just outside the village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and just three miles from the shores of Utah Beach, the statue effort was supported by the village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, its local citizens, the staff of the Utah Beach Museum, Major Richard Winters and his wife Ethel, their best friends, Herm and Rosemary Clemens and George Luz, Jr.
Former Sainte-Marie-du-Mont Mayor and owner of the Utah Beach Museum, Charles De Vallavieille and current village Mayor Henri Millet, were the most important reasons why the project became reality.
Before Major Winters passed away and in the two and a half year long process of fundraising, building and dedicating the statue, the foundation made a promise to Major Winters (following the conditions he set forth for allowing us to use his likeness, name and a quote from him focused on leadership) that this would be the only statue in the world utilizing his name and image and recognizing his leadership role on D-Day and that of all American small unit commanders from all divisions and corps.
These were the wishes of the late major, his wife, Ethel and the entire Winters family. We have honored and respected the conditions he set forth in his clear and concise language.
The statue was approved for Normandy, France……as long as it would be the only one.
The World War II Foundation