Jerry said that he'd like to have lunch and spend some time with Pat. Thanks to Ed Malloy and Paul DiPalma that meeting came together yesterday.
I picked up Jerry and then drove over to North Providence and picked up Pat. Several choices were thrown out for lurch and we settled on Blackies on Rte. 116 in Smithfield.
Jerry and Pat were pretty happy to see each other. The initial meet and greet was emotional for an outsider. Two seemingly older Gentleman who have mellowed with age. The years were torn by back to a simpler time when life was defined in moments of survival in close combat. They gave each other the Warrior Abrazo.
The one thing I realized is that both of these guys have a keen sense of humor and you can quickly become the target of buffoonery by either.
Carl Weston stopped in and he quickly became a target of Pat. Carl had a previous engagement but sat in for a beer with these two Elder Statesmen of the MARINE CORPS veterans of RI. Before Carl left Pat engaged in alittle buffoonery at Carl's expense. Carl and I will be chuckling over that one for some time.
Pat and Jerry spoke of there times in the Marine Corps Recruit Depot and of time spent on Iwo. Jerry and Pat both spent approx 37 days on Iwo and spoke of the only Banzai attack which took place on the Airfield at the end of the campaign. They spoke of Harry Kizirian another MARINE from Rhode Island. Both recounted meeting Harry Kizirian on different occaisions.
Pat travelled back to the US via aircraft and ended up at landing at Logan and then up to the Portsmouth Naval Yard. Jerry as you may know came back by troopship and across the USA by train. Ending up in Bainbridge, MD.
They spoke of the Bomb being dropped and the end of the War. Mustering out and their experiences with doctors and young 90 Day Wonders. Most of the officers stateside had very little clue what these men had experienced.
Pat and Jerry both have six children. Three boys and three girls as they both said in stereo!
When we were leaving Blackies a young man approached them. He said," I want to thank you for your service. I saw your Jacket and just wanted to say thanks." Pat was wearing a windbreaker with the Flag Raisers embroidered on the back. Both Pat and Jerry had Iwo Covers on. Pat immediately introduced the young man to Jerry' "Please meet my friend Jerry who was also on on Iwo Jima."
The young man shook hands and reiterated his thanks to both MARINES. Pat said to Jerry; "Jerry this makes it all worth it doesn't it!" Jerry replied with a grin; "It sure does." I hesitate in putting this to words but the moment was defined by both Pat and Jerry getting quiet. Giving each other a knowing look... I have watched the interviews of vets like Dick Winters, Babe Heffron, and Bill Guarnere they get quiet when remembering things long ago. The jaw lines become taught and the eyes take a set. I've noticed it is a common occurrence. It will pass quickly and they move forward.
I don't care to describe anything else as it was a moment of reverence. We all moved to the vehicle and the talk moved to politicians and things typically Rhode Island.
Pat and JerryWe were met back at Pat's home by his son Leon. Leon was introduced to Jerry and I.
Jerry and Pat have agreed to meet in the future.
There is nothing particularly glorious about sweaty fellows, laden with killing tools, going along to fight. And yet — such a column represents a great deal more than 28,000 individuals mustered into a division. All that is behind those men is in that column, too: the old battles, long forgotten, that secured our nation... traditions of things endured and things accomplished, such as regiments hand down forever; and the faith of men and the love of women; and that abstract thing called patriotism... all this passes into the forward zone, to the point of contact, where war is girt with horrors. And common men endure these horrors and overcome them, along with the insistent yearnings of the belly and the reasonable promptings of fear; and in this, I think, is glory.
Fix Bayonets! by Capt John W. Thomasen, Jr., USMC