Maj. Dick Winters, one of Pennsylvania’s most famous World War II veterans, is being remembered as a role model and citizen soldier.
Winters, born in Lancaster County, lived in Hershey for most of his life. He died on Jan. 2 at age 92.
Winters commanded a company — and later, a battalion — of the 101st Airborne during World War II, parachuting into D-Day, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and ultimately capturing Hitler’s Bavarian headquarters.
Decades later, the “Band of Brothers” book and HBO series made his exploits famous. Nikki Soliday, the executive director of the Hershey Derry Township Historical Society, said Winters was caught off guard by his sudden fame.
“It really just blew all of this out of the water,” she said. “And it took him a bit by surprise. Because while he knew the story was important, he didn’t realize how significant his story seemed to everyone.”
The Historical Society features an exhibit recreating Winters’ home office. They’ve placed a wreath in the display to mark his death, and are asking guests to sign a condolence book.
Winters also collaborated with Col. Cole Kingseed on a book about his World War II experiences. Kingseed said people always asked him the same question, when they found out he worked with Winters.
“And the question is this: ‘Is he really as good as he is portrayed in the miniseries?’ ” he said. “And my answer is always the same: he’s better. His values, his character really are the foundation of him.”
Winters received the military’s second-highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, for destroying a four-gun German battery during the D-Day invasion. He was also awarded the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars.