Four US Marines who fought in the Vietnam War showed up in Palm Coast, Florida on Saturday to take a picture. A picture that was 50 years in the making.
Four brothers in arms
Bob Falk, 71, Dennis Puleo, 69, Tom Hanks (not the actor) 69, and Bob DeVenezia showed up at Cinnamon Beach in Palm Coast, Florida to take a picture that would match – as closely as possible- one they took 50 years ago.
In 1966, the four men were stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. They were part of a weapons platoon and 3 were machine gunners, one anti-tank man, all getting ready to deploy to Southeast Asia. They trained together and deployed together – until they got to Vietnam.There they were separated – though they were in the same war, their experiences were different.
Two of them had received Purple Hearts during the war. After the war they went their own separate ways, as friends are prone to do.
They all had their own careers and businesses and never thought of getting together…until 5 years ago.
Then one day, after many faltering starts trying to make a reunion, Hanks was flipping through a photo album and spotted a picture they had taken together 50 years prior. What if they could recreate it? Today.
A picture 50 years in the making
So Saturday, after an early lunch on the balcony of a high-rise condo overlooking the beach, they went to the beach to get their photo. They had looked high and low for close matches to same clothing worn back in 1966., They borrowed a yellow longboard from a stranger, clustered up in the same pose as before, and snapped their picture.
Afterwards, they carpooled to lunch at a fish shack, where they told stories. Still typical Marines after all these years., cob Carpenter at WFAA wrote,
The ribbing continued. So did the tall tales. They went around the table and tried telling their life stories in three minutes or less. Puleo admitted he was glad he’d come. Hanks called it “one of the best days of my life.”
Eventually, the food came. Puleo offered to say grace, and together, they bowed their heads.
It was never far from their minds that they were lucky to be here, that countless others never made it back. Sure, Puleo had once gotten his last rites after taking a piece of shrapnel that pierced through his foot, calf and thigh. And yes, DeVenezia took a bullet to the left shoulder.
But they had survived, and more than that, they had lived.
Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful. Friendship is something that should never be lost.
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