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Long ago and far away


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My dad died in 1973. He was one year older than I am now. I was just going though the 70 year old army pictures of his. He served during World War II. I've gone through the pictures a half dozen times before, but never really noticed the captions written on the back of these two.

I never knew about this. I wish I had been able to learn the story. It's not the same as raising the flag over the Reichstag, but I still think it's pretty cool. I thought I'd share it.

My dad is second from the left.

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I don't recognize my dad in this one. I think he's the one holding the end of the flag.

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Right on man.. "Operation Torch" our first real taste of 'stuff'..

My Dad was in Oran (Algeria) in a field-hospital for a short time (Medical tech) and I've got a ton of photos from N Africa here in the shack .. Casablanca, Oran, etc. He used to tell us how his camp got 'buzzed' by a P-38 'on the deck'.. for a joke.. He crossed N.Atlantic 22times ferrying wounded GI's, POWs back to US and fresh troops back to ETO.. one trip to Manila also. A lot of time on the water..

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Thanks guys.

I've always been fascinated by WWII. The sheer enormousness, how America immediately shifted its industrial production to wartime needs, the logistics of moving men and materials around the globe and how Germany continued it's arms production while withstanding catastrophic bombing. I try not to think of the horror.

Here are a few more pictures. There are no names on the back of these, just the location written in my dad's handwriting. There are no historic moments, like the raising of the first American flag in North Africa - just scared young guys ripped away from life as they had known it, doing what they had to do. I can't imagine going through what they were enduring at the time. Looking at their faces, I find the pictures haunting. Which of them didn't make it through the war - or even the next week?

Castel Volturno, Italy 1/3/44

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Cassino, Italy

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A poem by Randall Jarrell from his collection Losses (1948)........

"We read our mail and counted up our missions. In bombers named for girls, we burned The cities we have learned about in school. Till our lives wore out; our bodies lay among The people we had killed and never seen. When we lasted long enough they gave us medals; When we died they said, 'Our casualties were low.'"

It's Jarrells birthday today....he always deserves a read.

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