Sixty five years ago, on January 23, 1944, my father arrived in the Pacific and began his journey as a United States Marine in World War II. He fought in Guam and Okinawa and then the Occupation of China. He was overseas for two years.
As a child, I used to look through my mother's hope chest and finger the rough wool of his Marine jacket. It wasn't until many years later, that he would share stories about the war. He told of trudging through fields and being so hungry that when they came across a potato field, the guys feasted on the raw potatoes. He recalled the time that he sneaked out to the PX to purchase an ice cream bar, only to hear his commandeer hollering his name. He quickly hid the ice cream bar in his pants pocket only to have to dig out a melted mess a few minutes later.
Many of the war memories were rough ones, and it was difficult for him to share the horror of what he endured.
One summer, the power went out during a storm while my parents were on a trip. They came home and had to clean out a freezer full of meat. The stench, said my dad, reminded him of the war.
Today, my father is in his eighties and has been retired for several years. My oldest brother is also a Marine and he served in Vietnam. The two of them have a special bond--Marine buddies who have shared a piece of history.