We visited the 81st “Wildcats” Division Memorial and Cemetery (the bodies originally buried there have since been re-interred stateside). My great-great uncle Charlie fought with the 81st. I was honored to be able to visit the memorial and walk along beaches where he probably fought and was injured. It made me wonder, though, how much of that island has impacted my life? This is me being deep on very little sleep, but how much of his experiences impacted my great-grand mother and my grandmother who in turn impacted my mother and eventually my immediate family and I? Not just his wartime experiences, but all of the brothers’ experiences (and the sisters’ homefront experiences). I wonder how much of the island I carry with me without even knowing it?
I had those thoughts briefly on Iwo Jima, but the nature of the trip did not allow for time to process those thoughts about that island. Living and breathing Peleliu jungle for several days has cultivated these thoughts into more than just mere ponderings.