NAPLES, Fla. — Four Marine veterans returned to a Florida beach over the weekend to recreate a photo they took 50 years ago.
The four Vietnam War veterans posed with a standing yellow longboard in nearly identical stances to recreate a moment they shared a half-century ago, the Naples Daily News reported.
“It’s a really funny picture,” one of the Marines told the newspaper. “But one with a lot of heart behind it.”
The Naples Daily News described the scene:
“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 four trained together with the same weapons platoon at Camp Pendleton in California in 1966, they told the newspaper. They were split up when they were deployed to Vietnam. Three were machine gunners and one was an anti-tank man. Two earned Purple Hearts.
“We just broke up. Life is funny like that,” DeVenezia said.
But after reuniting, Puleo said, “We all know that we’ve been given a gift of 50 years.”