Sometime during the month of May in 1966 four U.S. Marines got together on the beach in Oceanside, California. The beach was just a hop, skip, and a jump from Camp Pendleton, and the four best friends took a photograph of them wearing their swim trunks and holding a surfboard.
Shortly after snapping that Oceanside photograph the four U.S. Marines (aged 19-to-21) were on their way to fight in the Vietnam War. They’d lose track of each other over the years but love was never lost, and they remained the closest of friends even if they didn’t talk to each other every month.
Flash forward to fifty years later (present day), and these five bros get it in their head that they want to meet up and recreate their iconic photo on the beaches of Northeast Florida:
Bob Falk, 71, wearing a mirror-image blue-and-white striped shirt, leaned against the longboard’s left side, resting his spare hand on his hip.
Dennis Puleo, 69, removed his shoes, revealing the feet scarred by shrapnel, and pulled off his shirt, flanking the longboard on the right, mugging a wide smile for the camera with his arms extended.
Tom Hanks (not that one), 69, stepped in front of the board and took in a long, deep breath, flexing his still-thick upper chest and sucking in his now-paunchy belly.
Finally, Bob DeVenezia, 70, crouched down in front of Hanks, resting his elbows on his knobby knees, feeling Hanks’ hands placed on his back.
The picture couldn’t be a perfect copy. They had gray hair and wrinkled skin and undefined stomachs now. But it didn’t matter.
For the first time in five decades, they were together, trying to get it right.
If any of you bros out there are wondering what your life will look like 50 years from now this passage from the article is a pretty good look at what your reunions are going to be like at 70-years-old:
Hanks busted DeVenezia’s chops and whined about getting the smallest bed in the condo. Falk explained how he went to six different stores to find the perfect striped shirt for the photograph, finally spotting one on a table at Bealls. Puleo waxed poetic about new hearing aides with Bluetooth technology, offering advice about how to get them from the VA.
This story is so much more than just a photograph. It goes into detail about their weapons training together at Camp Pendleton, and how the Vietnam War separated the closest of friends (but only for a short time). I HIGHLY SUGGEST reading up on this heart warming story, because it’ll be one of the best things you read this week. So CLICK HERE to head on over to USA Today.
Marines Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com