News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Editor's Note

May 30, 2010

Editor's Note: A holiday tribute to "Hoosier," and all veterans

TERRE HAUTE — My late father, Joseph L. Jones, was a veteran of World War II, a 4th Division Marine whose service sent him to the South Pacific and into combat on the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima.

Because of that family history I took special interest in the current HBO mini-series, “The Pacific,” which aired in its entirety this past weekend after an initial 10-week run that premiered in March.

I watched all 10 episodes the first time through and found the series fascinating, informative, disturbing and, at times, both entertaining and very hard to watch. The story line made for good TV drama, while the depictions of combat were shockingly realistic.

The approach was similar to such modern World War II classics as “Saving Private Ryan,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” and “Band of Brothers.” The series was produced by veteran actor Tom Hanks and was a true story crafted from two books by Marine veterans and from various historical data. It followed three men — Marine enlistees — whose lives were forever changed by the war.

In one of the early episodes, a segment particularly caught my attention because one of the characters was referred to by the nickname “Hoosier.” Wow, I thought. This guy must have been from Indiana. During the episode, “Hoosier” was seriously injured and evacuated during the battle for the island of Peleliu.

That was it for “Hoosier.” No further mention in the mini-series, until the end of the final episode. That’s when small segments about each of the principle characters served as the climax for the show. Several scenes into the conclusion, the name of “Hoosier” Bill Smith appeared, followed by a brief biography that listed him as a native of Loogootee, Indiana, who survived his injuries and returned to live out his life in his hometown. He married and had four children, and died in the mid-1980s.

I was startled — not just because Loogootee is my hometown. “Hoosier” Bill Smith is my uncle, the husband of my dad’s sister, Lela, and father of my first cousins, Craig, Carla, Connie and Carey. I knew Uncle Bill had been in the war (it seemed to me that all the men of my dad’s generation had been), but never realized he was, like my dad, a Marine veteran.

The Loogootee Tribune published a story in its recent edition about Bill Smith and the appearance of his character in “The Pacific.” The newspaper story explained that after the war, Bill remained close friends with many of his combat buddies, including Robert Leckie, who wrote the book “Helmet for my Pillow.” Leckie’s book was one of the two on which “The Pacific” was based.

It’s been a proud family moment, enhanced by its occurrence around the Memorial Day holiday. Uncle Bill and my dad wouldn’t have made much of it. In their minds, what they did was what other men their age did. The only difference was that they were lucky enough to survive, while thousands of others did not.

So that leaves the rest of us to make a big deal out of it. To make movies dramatizing their service. To remember what they and all veterans of wartime, living and dead, did for their country.

I’m remembering Uncle Bill today. And my dad. And all those who served. Please join me in that Memorial Day tribute.

Max Jones can be reached via

e-mail at max.jones@tribstar.com, or by phone at (812) 231-4336.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editor's Note
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity