Marine Veterans Recreate Photo They Took 50 Years Ago
One Saturday morning last May, four U.S. Marine veterans made their way to Cinnamon Beach in Florida to recreate a photo they took 50 years ago.
Bob Falk, 71, Bob DeVenezia, 70, Dennis Puleo, 69, and Tom Hanks, 69, served together in 1966 and were stationed in Camp Pendleton, outside of San Diego. They trained and were deployed together, although once in Vietnam, they had to separate. Three served as machine gunners, one as an anti-tank man; two earned Purple Hearts, and all four fought mercilessly for their country.
But after the war, the men lost touch.
“We just broke up. Life is funny like that. I didn’t keep in touch with any of them. There was something about the Vietnam War and the negativity we kept hearing.”
They all went to build successful careers, raised families, and for a long time, there were no plans to reunite. But about five years ago, Falk saw an online memorial that Hanks created for a fallen comrade, and the group got back in touch.
Hanks got the idea to recreate their beach photo taken 50 years ago ago.
Side by side are the heroes in 1966, and now, in 2016.
They tried to match their original outfits, and all posed around a yellow longboard. Each of them felt grateful for surviving the war. “We all know,” Puleo said, “that we’ve been given a gift of 50 years.”