Friday, August 01, 2008

10th Mountain Division

During the trip out west, we spent about a day with two fantastic people. Joe and Lois. We met them at the USS Indianapolis Survivors reunion parade here in Indy last year. Lois is the niece of one of the survivors. Great people, fed us, let us stay in their mountain cabin. The 3br, 3ba, 2 car ga ‘cabin’ complete with a deck with the views noted below is their summer retreat, they call it a cabin, I call it a resort...

Anyway...

In one of our many military based conversations, Joe tells us about the previous owner of his cabin. If I remember correctly, the guy (his name escapes me) was a member of the 10th Mountain Division in WWII. He built the cabin up there at 7-8k feet 50+ years ago when there was nothing. I cannot imagine. I got winded up there just going up 4-5 steps on their deck, little lone ‘build’ something up there. Hell, pilots have to put on oxygen at 10,000 feet.

Joe and Lois added on to the cabin a few years ago, so it a bit larger now but still the most awesome views.

Many other 10th Mountain guys returned from the French and Italian Alps, loving the mountains, to start and revitalize the ski slopes that now dominate the Rocky Mountain landscape.

In that discussion Joe starts telling us about a book. One of the guys from the 10th Mountain comes home and puts together a multi picture ‘scrap book’ (I believe there was 1,000 pictures) complete with descriptions and comments about each picture. The comments include locations, men’s names and their ranks. In hauntingly many cases there are “... was killed weeks after this picture was taken.” Or “... died of injuries sustained 6 months after this.”

He made 1,000 copies.

OK... let that sink in. 1,000 copies... in post WWII America there is not a Kinko’s down around the corner. No color copiers or printers. You didn’t place all the pictures in a graphics editor and print it. This guy had 1,000 copies of each photograph printed and mounted each in a book along with the description. Now that’s dedication to recording history. We need that today.... but that's another post.

Sometime in there while we are talking, Joe disappears and comes back with a copy of 'the book'. One of the original, photographs printed in sepia because that’s how they printed them, copies. As I’m flipping through the pages, in complete awe of the history in my hands, I came across this photo and caption.

To me. This says it all about cards, letters and care packages for our troops.



Everyone knows someone that knows someone currently in the sand box.

Go.

Now.

Get their address, send them something. Tell them thanks, tell them you’re proud of their service.

Even if you never hear from them, they'll appriciate it. Really.

1 comment:

Steph said...

Wait a minute. 1,000 copies. Where are the rest of the copies? Has he approached a publisher about these?

Seriously, an effort like that with photos and memoirs and notes like those really do need to be published.