"I couldn't move forward, I couldn't move backwards"

The other week Jubilee and I popped up to Virginia Beach for the 5th Marine Division Reunion, one of our favorite weekends ever! For three days we were surrounded by the manliest set of Marines with truly harrowing stories of combat on Iwo Jima to tell.

"See that Corsair (above), I was lying in the sand on red beach, D-Day [Iwo Jima]. I couldn't move forward, I couldn't move backwards. We were completely pinned down. I looked up, and there flying over me was a Corsair firing on the enemy. At that moment, it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen in my life."

Two Marines discuss the differences in their bootcamp training.

Another Marine said, "I wrote the battlefield reports for my Company: every casualty we had on Iwo Jima. I was one of only three other men in my Company of 145 men to come off the island without a scratch."

"You don't lose many friends in the Motor Transport... but I lost a few." These words were said with great meaning. 

Two life-long friends and war buddies. 

"I was buried alive on the island, and this guy here (pointing to his friend standing by), dug me out and saved my life. That was right before he lost his leg."

Quotes like this and many more are what we heard. Hard gritty stuff, humorous anecdotes, and tearful remembrances of comrades lost. It was a very special experience for Jube and me to be surrounded by such grand men and soldiers. Every man there had a story that would make any loyal American's heart soar with pride and gratitude.