World War II veteran Bradford Freeman passes away at 97
The last survivor of World War II and the last living member mentioned in the popular book Band of Brothers, Bradford Clark Freeman passed away on July 4 aged 97. Freeman was the only surviving member of the Easy Company which was the World War II parachute infantry regiment of the US Army. He breathed his last in Mississippi's Baptist Memorial Hospital.
Freeman's division inspired the book 'Band of Brothers'
In 1942, Freeman joined the US armed forces and gradually became a member of the Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. The division was deployed in Normandy. The book Band of Brothers written by Stephen E Ambrose was inspired by Freeman's division. The book revolves around Freeman's combat exploits and the duties of the paratroopers in World War II.
The book was also adapted into a television mini-series
The best-selling book was later adapted into a television mini-series that comprised 10 episodes and was streamed on HBO. The series was created by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg and went on to win six Grammy awards. Freeman was portrayed by actor James Farmer in a non-speaking role. The makers were guided by Freeman himself so that everything looked real onscreen.
Freeman was a kind, generous and humorous man: Family friend
According to David Simmons, Freeman's family friend, the nonagenarian was a kind, humorous and generous person. After returning from the war, Freeman married Willie Louise Gurley and started a job as a mail carrier. "He went to three schools, spoke, answered lots of questions, and it was apparent he had a brilliant memory of each event he experienced," Simmons told NBC News.
Freeman was invited as guest for 75th anniversary of D-Day
In 2019, Freeman returned to Normandy as an honored guest for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. In May 2021, he was felicitated with a framed autographed photo and coin from Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who honored his service. According to Lowndes Funeral Home, a memorial service was organized for Freeman on July 8.
He had received a purple heart from the US army
The US army gave him a purple heart for getting wounded during the war. Freeman had spoken to the American Veteran Center about getting hit by a blast during the Battle of the Bulge that was executed by a German rocket nicknamed "Screaming Mimi."