Four Marines who recreated a 50-year-old photo were shocked to discover that their photo had gone viral. Tom Hanks told Fox News Channel Fox and Friends, “The reason this went viral is that America knows how bad we had it coming home and they are liking us now.”
The photo originally taken 50 years ago at Camp Pendleton just after the Marines graduated boot camp, was recreated at Cinnamon Beach in Florida upon their 50-year reunion.
The Marines discussed the photo with Fox and Friends. Bob Falk remarked on how the photo came about originally, “Four of us guys on a weekend getting together. We just started getting together as friends somehow. We don’t even know how we connected as friends out there. We just started hanging around. One day we went to the beach and said let’s get a surfboard.”
But where to find that surfboard? “I do remember a little bit about the board. We shook a guy down. I’m serious. We intimidated this guy. I said we need it right now so he took a picture of us,” recalled Bob DeVenzia.
The photo was taken and the rest is history, “I was the camera man and still am. It’s my hobby and I took a lot of pictures. We had a weekend off we used to get weekends off after hard work in Pendleton and that was it. We just took the picture for fun,” remembered Hanks.
Reminiscing about their time in service, it was a time of many unknowns. “At that time, we were very full of ourselves. We really were. We were all part of a weapons platoon. Three machine gunners and a bazooka man, right? We didn’t know what we were headed for, but we were excited. We’d been trained for a specific job and we were going on a ship called the Iwo Jima and we were going to park of the coast off the coast of Iwo Jima and it was going to be exciting. Of course, everything changed 11 months later,” Dennis Puleo remarked.
Years later thanks to the power of social media, the Marines reconnected online.
“We all connected on the internet and we had a reunion, myself Tom and Bob, at Tom Hanks house up in Atlanta. Dennis didn’t make that one. We had another one with the three of us a couple years later. This year, Dennis came because the significance of 50 years struck a chord,” says Bob Falk.
Dennis discusses why not all veterans are interested in connecting through reunions. For some, it’s a difficult decision to go and bring up the many emotions that accompany their service.
“I felt you could probably call it a little bit of survivor’s guilt. We are so blessed. The things we saw, the things we did and the fact that we made it out alive. We just got a gift of 50 years, but there are tens of thousands of men and women didn’t get anytime,” says Puleo.
Eventually, the discussion moved onto the recreated photo and how life is different today. The men are still quite funny, remarking on the tenacity involved to locate another striped shirt.
“I went to six different stores,” Bob jokingly said, in his quest. And why was he wearing shirt in the first place? That’s easy. “Well, I figured 50 years down the line something like this might happen and I didn’t want my six pack of abs that turned into a keg shown in front of millions of people.”
The reporter asked how many of them were sucking in their gut, playing into the moment. They replied, “All of us.”
Finally, the veterans were asked if they planned on getting together again. They answered simply, “Yes, we’re planning one for 50 years from now.”
Semper Fi, Marines.
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