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.