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
Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza
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