Home TRAVEL JOURNAL Senior Memories: When It’s Springtime in Hawaii
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Marines, fully loaded with heavy gear, eased themselves over the side and down the rope ladders of our ship into LCVP boats bobbing below. Behind us, battleships, cruisers and destroyers were blasting shells over our heads at the beach.

The air cover departed and the shelling stopped. The first wave of Marines slogged ashore, advanced several hundred yards, dug foxholes and began firing at imaginary blockhouses in front of them. Other landing craft brought in more Marines, small artillery pieces, jeeps and trucks. Everything in the invasion seemed to go like clockwork. Of course, this was just a practice exercise, a prelude to what was coming next.

A month or so later, on April Fool's Day, the same military units performed the exercise again on the island of Okinawa. However, this time it was for real, and the blockhouses were not imaginary. It was the last major action of WWII, and proved to be one of the bloodiest.

I've been back to Hawaii many times since. As great as it is to be there, I’m always reminded of my first visit when that peaceful beauty was rudely interrupted by a rehearsal for war.

 
 
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