These four former United States Marines met on a beach in Florida with the specific goal of re-creating this photograph from 1966. It had been taken before they were shipped off to fight in the Vietnam war. Bob DeVenezia (70), Bob Falk (71), Dennis Puleo (69), and Tom Hanks (69) studied the picture closely. They wanted to capture the same poses, but knew that they wouldn’t be able to capture those same emotions.
The young men took this picture before they were sent off to war, and there was a looming feeling of “knowing we were going to be cannon fodder, bodies for Vietnam.” The four took a trip to Tijuana during a break in training where this iconic photograph was taken.
Incredibly, they all survived, surviving shrapnel and bullet wounds.
After the war, the four didn’t keep in touch. “We had the tools. We had the training. But nothing trains you for your first combat. Nothing. Zero.” DeVenezia explains.
It took a lot of convincing, but the four finally agreed to come together and recreate the photograph. It could have been so easy for this photo to be the last for any of them…but it wasn’t. They had all been given an extra 50 years, and celebrating it with a picture, a good dinner, and conversation was what they all needed. They were the lucky ones.
Even after 50 years, the four picked up where they had left off, and this picture proves it. Incredible.