Monday, August 09, 2004
The man behind the legend
Six years ago, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg came out with Saving Private Ryan, which was based on a real life situation. The man in question was not Private Ryan but Sgt. Fritz Niland and he was the first man to be sent home from the war because two of his brothers were killed at Normandy on D Day and one other brother was reported MIA in the South Pacific. Roosevelt felt it was wrong to deprive a family of all its sons and enacted a law that sent Niland home.
The story is not at all as it is portrayed in the well known movie, but fantastic nonetheless.
I had the good fortune to know the nephew of the man who really saved Sgt. Fritz Niland and interviewed the gentleman in question. I also have a copy of a memoir the gentleman wrote detailing his sometimes hilarious adventures before, during, and after Normandy as one of the first recruits of the 101st Airborne, the screaming eagles.
Don't know why I waited so long, but I have spent the morning putting together query packages, e-mail and snail mail versions, to write this remarkable story behind the movie.
Now, I'm just curious if any of you ladies and gentleman would be interested in such a story, so give it to me straight and bare your soul. Does the story intrigue you? Would you like to know more? If so, let me know. Just consider this market research, especially since all of you comprise a varied cross section of American readers.