Remembering John Steele — 82nd Airborne, D-Day


In keeping with Monday’s Memorial Day blog I dedicate today’s Fun Photo Friday to the memory of John Steele, Sainte-Mère-Église, and the church upon which Private Steele of the 82nd Airborne hung suspended for two hours before briefly being taken prisoner by the German Army, escaping, and later rejoining his brigade.

You will recall this famous incident from the movie The Longest Day, in which Private Steele was portrayed by Red Buttons.  That church remains to this day standing silent sentinel over the town square.  Hanging from a spire is a continuing memorial to Private Steels (see black-and-white photograph below) — a mannequin dressed in battle gear and uniform suspended by a parachute canopy and shroud lines.

Inside that church you will find some decidedly unusual stained glass windows.  Look at them carefully.  You’ll see reminders of that day in the form of airborne patches and armed troops gliding to earth beneath silk canopies.

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3 Comments

Filed under Photography, travel

3 responses to “Remembering John Steele — 82nd Airborne, D-Day

  1. I watched the movie a few weeks ago – must have been terrifying for him. And everyone involved.

  2. That monument is creepily realistic. For an instant I thought it was a historical photo of the real John Steele hanging from the church roof. Love the stained glass windows. I suspect the originals – if this church ever had any – were destroyed in WWII and the replacements commemorated the events.

    • It doesn’t look nearly as real in color, which is why I chose to convert to monochrome.
      Thanks again for dropping by and leaving a comment, Cora.