The Weslaco Panthers

In 1943, after taking accelerated classes, all the seniors on the Weslaco Texas football team, the Weslaco Panthers, enlisted in the Marine Corps together. There’s a young man named Harlon Block in that picture, he’s number 10. He appears again, later in the war, photographed for posterity. He’s the man on the far right in this image. As far as I know, that is the last picture of Harlon. He died fighting a week later, killed by a Japanese mortar shell. He was buried on Iwo Jima. After the war, his body was brought home, and his former teammates served as pallbearers at the funeral. Except for joining up in a group and being in a famous photo, Harlon’s story is not unusual, 20 students from Weslaco High died in WWII. It was one small part of the price that America paid to be free.

Come on! Do you want to live forever?
–1st Sgt. Dan Daly, USMC, at the battle of Belleau Wood

Update: This is a first, as I have never updated a quote on the blog before. 1st Sgt. Dan Daly is commonly thought to have said: “Come on, you sons of bitches, do you wanna live forever? “. When I looked it up, the version I used is what I found, and I was striving for accuracy, not censoring.

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2 thoughts on “The Weslaco Panthers

  1. If you're going to bastardize the quote that is commonly attributed to Daly, why not simply post the phrase that he himself claimed that he said?

    The phrase that lives through time immemorial, that is forever frozen in military culture, is “Come on, you sons of bitches, do you wanna live forever?”

    Don't clean it up. To do so is insulting to the enlisted man.

  2. I always thought it was “C'mon, you sons of bitches…” and I had heard that he might not have been the one who said it. When I went looking for the quote, I found this information in a couple of places. This is from Wiki:

    Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph “Dan” Daly (November 11, 1873 – April 27, 1937) was a United States Marine and one of only nineteen men (including seven Marines) to have received the Medal of Honor twice. Of the Marines who are double recipients, only Daly and Major General Smedley Butler received their Medals of Honor for two, separate actions.

    Daly is commonly attributed as having yelled, “Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?” to the men in his company prior to charging the Germans during the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War One, although Daly claimed himself to have said, “For Christ's sake men—come on! Do you want to live forever?”

    So I went for what seemed like the most accurate. The quotes became a regular thing early in the blog, sometimes I find a really good one, sometimes they barely fit.

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