Originally Posted by Botnst
I know some old geezers who were there. Except one who has amazing scar tissue on the side of his face (which combined with old-guy skin, looks sort of alien), they just seem like a bunch of crusty old guys. They know each other's stories by heart and retell them every year, anyway. They also remember their friends who died horribly and speak haltingly when they recall those terrible memories. They have a reunion every year but decided this last summer would be their final one as they are too old to travel any more.
My dad was offshore (Navy) doing coastal bombardment and AA artillery for fleet "protection."
That is interesting. My hometown, Manchester, NH is a big Marine town due to what used to be the huge Naval and Marine installations in Portsmouth, NH. During the war, just about all draftees in Manchester and southern NH and Maine ended up in the Marine Corp, probably because it was so easy to get them to boot camp and on a ship, or if the boot camp was full, on a ship to a boot camp, that one usually being Parris Island . Eastern Coastal New England was like a huge war assembly line, with the huge Bath Iron Works literally rolling ships out of the factories and filling them with Swabbees and Marines from Portsmouth and ammunition from the mighty Springfield Arsenal, and then rolling down the coast to pick up another load of fresh meat at Parris Island, from which it was through The Canal on to either San Diego or straight to the theater.
My step father owned a slum building two doors down from where this man grew up. I walked by the brass plaque that proclaimed the house as his birthplace every day:
He was the town hero.
In my own family, my great uncle served in the 3rd Marine Division on Iwo. He was severely wounded by a sniper about two weeks into the campaign and spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. He never talked about it, and I know little first hand about the battle. He was always ready to tell a funny story about a fight in a bar or some ridiculous thing his friends had done, but he could never talk about the war. My great aunt said that the only thing he had told her when she asked about it was that she "imagine a place where everyone around you seemed to be shrieking and dying, and Japanese soldiers completely on fire walked around as if they were going to the store for a beer". She said that when he tried to talk about any more than that, it was as if he was trying to force the words from his mouth, and they just wouldn't come, after which he would weep for hours. Much of my own personal hatred of war comes from spending years living with it's consequence. Everyone who blithely slaps a yellow ribbon on their car and prays for war should be forced to live with its results for a minimum of say, thirty years. Maybe then they wouldn't be so eager. So I'm planning on seeing the movie, as my life has been directly affected, greatly affected, for better or worse, by what happened there.