- "There is fighting every day. You can hear it down the road, or in the distance. Sometimes, when it is cloudy, you can't tell where the sounds of the fighting are coming from. But they are always there. The artillery booms, booms, booms, and then is answered by the echoes in the distant valleys, all sounding like heartbeats coming from the earth. Sometimes, I'd swear that war is a living thing, huge and ugly, that eats up lives."
- —Scott Collins
The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins: A World War II Soldier, republished as We Were Heroes, is the fourth book in the My Name Is America series. It was written by Walter Dean Myers, his second for the series after The Journal of Joshua Loper. It was first published in June 1999 and reissued in March 2012 with new cover art.
- "For Nancy Larrick, whose concerns helped bring me into the field of children's literature"
- "June 7, 1944
I could see Omaha Beach through the smoke and haze as our assault boat rocked in the choppy waters. The noise was unbelievable—shells hissing overhead, great booms along the shore as the navy pounded the Nazi positions.... A boat up ahead had been hit. Everywhere there were guys in the water. Some were splashing their way toward shore as the bullets kicked up the water around them. Others were already dead, their bodies floating against the steel obstacles. As we stopped abruptly on a sandbar, our boat's ramp dropped. I could hear fire from the automatics slamming into its steel sides. "Okay, this is it! Everybody out! Let's go. Let's go!"
- ""By the time that night arrives all that matters is that I'm alive."
Following in the footsteps of his father and great-grandfather, both war veterans, Scott Pendleton Collins signs up for the army during the height of World War II. He is shipped out to England only to face weeks of boredom. He and his unit want to be out in the fields, doing something to help the Allied forces. Finally, the comrades find themselves on a boat heading to Normandy, France, in the dead of night. But as his boat approaches the beach, Scott suddenly realizes what they are up against, and it is an impossible invasion. Nothing in basic training, nothing he's heard from other soldiers, nothing he has ever experienced prepares Scott for what awaits on Omaha Beach. As D-Day rages about him, Scott is separated from his unit. Lost in the bloody chaos, he must find a way to live through the battle. Revolving around one of the most famous invasions in history, Scott's story is one of bravery and victory, heartache and pain, loss and survival."
Seventeen-year-old Scott Collins, an American soldier, ships off to England, after training in Virginia. The soldiers pack up and prepare to land on Omaha Beach in France. Chaos reigns supreme as Scott and the others scrabble to reach the beach, while the German Army shoots at them. Scott passes the next few days in a daze, until his best friend Bobby Joe Hunter finds him.
Scott and Bobby Joe find their platoon, which Lieutenant Rowe presides over. The soldiers head for St. Lô, but get pushed back to St. Andre. Towards the end of June, two new guys, Doug Kerlin and J.J. Dandridge, join Scott's platoon. Scott's platoon prepares to leave again, when Lt. Rowe orders Scott and Bobby Joe to check an abandoned house for German soldiers. Their friend, Crockett joins them and dies by gunshot.
The platoon once again heads toward St. Lô. Meanwhile, Kerlin is sent back to England, when his foot infection worsens. Scott later finds out that Kerlin died, before reaching his destination. In July, Lt. Rowe takes Scott on a mission to capture a German soldier. Scott successfully grabs a German and Lt. Rowe subdues him. They take him back to camp and question him.
After pulling back from St. Lô, Scott's company moves to take Martinville. The Germans retreat and the United States Army takes St. Lô, while Scott's platoon is on leave. In late July, Lt. Rowe promotes Scott to a sergeant and their platoon attacks Moyon for the next several days. Scott finds a German hiding spot in a house, while his platoon was taking control of Vire. In mid-August, Scott is wounded and sent back to England.
- Main article: List of We Were Heroes characters
- Scott Pendleton Collins, a soldier fighting in the Battle of Normandy during World War II. He experiences the horrors of war and fights to stay alive.
- Bobby Joe Hunter is Scott's best friend and fellow soldier. He fights alongside Scott throughout the Battle of Normandy. Bobby Joe copes with the harsh reality of war by using his humor
- Main article: Walter Dean Myers
Walter Dean Myers (August 12, 1937 – July 1, 2014) was a children's and young adult author. He wrote over a hundred books, including Fallen Angels and Monster. Myers is the author of three books in the My Name Is America series, including The Journal of Joshua Loper and Down to the Last Out.
Myers said, "The losses suffered on D-Day and during all of the war should be remembered forever and should always be a restraint when we think about military actions to solve international problems. I can think of no better way to prevent war than to present a true picture of its horrors."
- "The author would like to thank Henry B. MacFarland, a naval officer during the war, who shared his experiences of the Normandy Invasion, and Joan Trew of the Roanoke City Library for her help in background research."
- ↑ https://www.amazon.com/Journal-Scott-Pendalton-Collins-Soldier/dp/0439050138/
- ↑ https://www.amazon.com/We-Were-Heroes-Journal-Pendleton/dp/0545398894/
- ↑ The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins, Walter Dean Myers, page 56
- Interview with Walter Dean Myers about The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins at Scholastic
- The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins Discussion Guide at Scholastic