We expect much of our heroes, but living forever is not one of them:
Lynn D. “Buck” Compton, an Army paratrooper whose World War II service was portrayed in the book and HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers” and who later as a prosecutor secured a conviction for Robert F. Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan, died Feb. 26 at his home in Burlington, Wash. He was 90.
He had complications from a heart attack, said his daughter Syndee Compton. Mr. Compton retired in 1990 as a judge on the California Courts of Appeal.
Mr. Compton fought in some of the war’s fiercest battles as a first lieutenant with E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The soldiers, collectively known as Easy Company, participated in the June 6, 1944, invasion of Normandy, parachuted into Holland for the disastrous Operation Market Garden and fought through frostbite and German artillery in the Battle of the Bulge.
I have mentioned before that Band Of Brothers, along with Ken Burns’ The Civil War, is the gold standard for TV fare. Easy Co’s exploits came to life with Stephen Ambrose, but the HBO special gave them all a face.
Buck Compton was one of my favorite’s in the series, not only was he an absolute stud but a great leader of men. If you read about the Battle of the Bulge, the stuff that those men endeared, the coldest winter in 70 years, little food/ammo/winter clothing and facing the last push by a desperate German army, how any of them came out without some emotional/psychological damage is a miracle. The episode where Buck cracks, seeing his platoon ripped to shreds in front of him, was probably my favorite, highlighting not only the lesson that any man can only take so much before breaking, and the those around him that did not think less of him but thought ,”only for the grace of God, go I”.
Toward the end of his career, Mr. Compton became a forceful advocate for patients in “right-to-die” cases.
“If there is ever a time when we ought to be able to get the ‘government off our backs,’ ” Mr. Compton wrote, “it is when we face death — either by choice or otherwise.”
Amen to that, the indignity of having to suffer pain and to prolong an existence against your will, the epitome of the nanny state thinking it knows better then you do.
The whole article is a good read.