We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France

Why am I writing about the Bizory monument?
11 April 2011, 18:48
Filed under: Band of Brothers, Bizory monument, Veterans

On occasion, when I email or interview someone about the Bizory monument and Mark Patterson’s vandalism of it, they ask me why I’m bringing it up. Some of them simply want to forget about it. Some of them don’t want to harm Mark’s reputation. Some comment on how terrible it was, but state that they just want to put it behind them. Everyone finds the issue at least somewhat uncomfortable.

At his request, I interviewed Mark in March. Mark pointed out to me that a number of veterans and others have been upset by the monument’s limited scope (only memorializing Easy Company), feeling that it serves as a slap in the face to those who actually fought in that spot. It’s not that they dislike the veterans of families of Easy Company, they just feel that all the attention is focused on them because of the book and HBO series.

The typical protest has been the arrangement of small stones indicating the other units that actually fought there (like the 501st). Some folks have stated that they do that every time they visit it. I’m told that one 501st veteran even arranged stones to refer to Easy Company as “Sleazy Easy”. Obviously, we have a serious problem with the current monumentation.

Mark contends that it would have been a simple matter to include those units on the Bizory monument or to have included D/506 on the Brecourt monument (the Brecourt  monument memorializes some Easy Company men who did not fight at Brecourt and ignores D Company which did). While I don’t think they should be obligated to do so, it would have been wise. Notably, the Richard Winters Leadership Project, which will unveil a statue of the Easy Company commander in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont on the 2012 anniversary of D-Day, is more inclusive, stating that it is Dedicated to all U.S. Army junior officers who led the way on June 6, 1944.

Since the damage to the monument is still there (not as evident as a year ago, but visible nonetheless), pretending it never happened isn’t going to work. People know something happened and that Mark was responsible, so if there is no record of it, but only a whispering campaign, his reputation will be in the trash anyway. So anyone who thinks ignoring it will make it go away is wrong.

I get at least one search hit every day for information on this vandalism, though Mark tells me that he and a friend are the one hitting Google on a daily basis (some days I get several searches, other days, I get none).

I’m going to continue writing about this as I learn more, because I think the best way to prevent these things from happening in the future is for people to know what happened and get some insight into the reasons. I think articles should be written for historical journals and magazines about this and about the problems with these monuments. Otherwise, the next frustrated person might go vandalize another monument.

As a historian, I feel that the best course is always more information, not less.

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hello,My name is Mark Patterson.I am NOT the person referred to in these postings.I am a Massachusetts resident and brother of a retired paratrooper.I am disgusted that someone with my name has desecrated the “E” Co. monument.My father was a U.S.Navy veteran of WWII and in addition to my Airborne brother I have another brother who was Navy during Vietnam. I respect all veterans for the sacrifices they have made for this great Republic. Thank You.

Comment by mark patterson

Thanks so much for your comment, Mark. The “other” Mark Patterson (from Arizona) did make it back to the monument to rectify the problem. A friend of mine independently visited and, based on photos he supplied, there is now no evidence that anything untoward ever happened.

Comment by David Navarre

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