I once saw Charles Durning perform with the NSO
by Lazarus (2012-12-26 10:51:48)
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It was during a Memorial Day concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol. He provided narration during some patriotic music with a handful of other b-list celebrities and politicians. The other speakers, well, their words were generically forgettable, including Colin Powell's. Durning, on the other hand, spoke of an experience so profound, and with such emotion, that a crowd of tens of thousands became reverently silent.

Durning was a decorated WWII hero, a veteran of both Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. However, it was not these heroic exploits which he spoke of. No, he related, in very personal and graphic terms, about what it was like to liberate a Nazi concentration camp. As his own emotion swelled up on stage, all I could do was stare at my own feet to keep from being overcome myself. He concluded by speaking of the importance of our nation as a symbol of freedom and a bulwark against the type of evil he had witnessed.

And so, as our nation moves through an era of its history marked by narcissism and general cultural bankruptcy, we lose another member of the Greatest Generation.

Charles Durning, RIP.


True Confessions
by Atticus  (2012-12-26 22:30:42)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

No, not mine. The movie of great insight into the Irish Catholic experience in America. How can you beat a movie that stars Charles along with Robert Duvall, Robert DeNiro, Cyril Cusick, Burgess Meredith?

Too bad it got lost in the shuffle at the time when it was not popular to show the Church in anything but a toora loora loora light. Too too bad. It is a story of redemption.


I was fascinated by his obituary today. He was quite an
by cj  (2012-12-26 15:20:46)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

American War hero. God bless him and may he rest in peace.

"Durning's rugged early life provided ample material on which to base his later portrayals. He was born into an Irish family of 10 children in 1923, in Highland Falls, N.Y., a town near West Point. His father was unable to work, having lost a leg and been gassed during World War I, so his mother supported the family by washing the uniforms of West Point cadets.

The younger Durning himself would barely survive World War II.

He was among the first wave of U.S. soldiers to land at Normandy during the D-Day invasion and the only member of his Army unit to survive. He killed several Germans and was wounded in the leg. Later he was bayoneted by a young German soldier whom he killed with a rock. He was captured in the Battle of the Bulge and survived a massacre of prisoners.

In later years, he refused to discuss the military service for which he was awarded the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.

“Too many bad memories,” he told an interviewer in 1997. “I don't want you to see me crying.”

Tragedy also stalked other members of his family. Durning was 12 when his father died, and five of his sisters lost their lives to smallpox and scarlet fever."


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