"You've probably been wondering what it was like to make my first trip into combat," writes Pfc. Jim "Pee Wee" Martin, a paratrooper with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne. Martin made the jump into Normandy on June 6, 1944, along with thousands of other Allied troops. "... the sky was full of orange and red blossoms of fire... I stepped out to meet a ladder of flak and tracers."
The words in Pfc. Martin's letter to his wife and family are brought to life by Academy Award-nominated actor Bryan Cranston. The images of paratroopers flying the most important one-way trip in history are restored in full 4K video by the team over at AARP, dedicated to preserving the words and deeds of America's aging Greatest Generation.
"I can truthfully say that I wasn't afraid," Martin continues. "I was so fascinated that there wasn't any room for fear. The loneliest feeling in the world is when I hit the ground without another soul around me."
While the letter comes from the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University, the incredible high-resolution footage was scanned in from its original 35mm film, the same film stock used for many blockbuster Hollywood films. The digital conversion process is important because unlike "restoring" the imagery to DVD, which still degrades the image quality, 4K conversion gives the imagery a much higher resolution and higher quality.
This is important for things like the D-Day invasion. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, referring to the critical moment of the U.S. Civil War, we can never forget what they did there.
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