For the first time in five decades, they were together!
The Vietnam War will always be revived as one of the most controversial wars in American history. The idea of sending American boys thousand of miles away to fight against the spread of Communism was probably the toughest pill for a lot of people to swallow. If you are not aware of the Vietnam War, let me tell you, if you went there as a soldier you apparently weren't coming back. Luckily, these four Marines managed to make it out alive.
It is always a great feeling to relive the moments of past, especially those which you never wanted to end. Moreover, nothing can replace the happiness of meeting people who have been near to your heart after a long time and seeing positive changes in them. US Marines in the following images reunited after 50 years and it is heartwarming to see them.
This story will bring tears to your eyes and will astound you at the same time.
Tom Hanks (69) *not what you're thinking*, Dennis Puleo (69), Bob Falk (71), and Bob DeVenezia (70) were preparing to depart for Vietnam. Stationed together at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California, the four friends decided to take a photo on that beach before leaving for war. They were all looking very handsome and were ready to fight for their nation.
The men shipped off to Vietnam and bonded in a unique way that only war can bring. But they did return and a reunion occurred after a gap of 50 years. From the pictures you'll see that nothing had changed in the strong bond they had built then, yet something obvious happened.
Of course, the time had hit them hard and it brought some physical changes to their bodies. You'll see further that they tried to recreate the same moment they once had, but with grey hair and bellies.
While DeVenezia was sitting in his East Naples condominium explaining the gap of 50 to Naples Daily News as, "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."
After surviving the entire Vietnam war, they did continue to live their lives just like everybody else on this planet. Now, they were someone's spouse, with children and their kids.
But they had their fair share of war in 1996 when all the four together were stationed in Camp Pendleton, outside San Diego and were preparing to sail to East Asia.
While talking to History channel, it was discovered that none of their tours lasted more than 13 months. Irrespective of that, the 4 friends always wanted to be in the following specific careers:
DeVenezia in construction in New Jersey;
Falk in retail management in Florida;
Hanks in investment banking in Atlanta;
Puleo in home security, some in the Northeast and some in Florida.
It's no surprise that the gentlemen wanted to marry and raise their own little ones.
It was in the year 2011 when Falk was going through the Internet and happened to come across Hanks online memorial for fallen comrades. Later, all the four kept meeting each other but not all at once, that is when Hanks stumbled upon the left part of the pictured image. He decided to recreate it on their 50th Anniversary after the Vietnam War, Puleo didn't agree but the other three finally convinced him and the reunion finally took place.
DeVenezia said, "Look, everybody has reunions. They're a dime a dozen, but this one? Dennis got last rites in the same battle I got shot in. The fact that we're all alive after 50 years, much less survived Vietnam, is what makes the story neat." as per the website of Today.
Don't confuse him with the one in Forrest Gump movie since this Corpsmen Tom Hanks who is now a retired investment banker went way before the film's inception and the Hollywood actor's fame. He described the memory which is 50 years old as "It was one of the best days in my life, we were just goofing around. I'm not sure where we even got the surfboard. It wasn't ours."
DeVenezia and Puleo earned Purple Heart (a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military).
The reunion was nothing of a kind and in the words of Hanks, "It's hard to describe, but it was a wonderful, wonderful experience for all four of us. We were just sitting around and BS'ing and talking. It was like nothing had changed even though 50 years had passed. The best part of it was going down to the beach and goofing around and pushing each other around. We were like 20-year-old kids."
When DeVenezia tried to recall the good old times, he said, "Falk, Puleo and I were machine gunners. Hanks was what they call a weapons guy. He had bazookas, explosives, mortars."
After Hank was asked about the next reunion, his reply was "We really didn't leave it in any one way. We just left it hanging in the air. But you know what? That's the way we always do it. Maybe in a couple of years, we'll get together again."
Updated by Cnishq