By Caroline Jenkins
for the Pathfinder
The memory of wars gone by is growing dimmer as the years pass. But for some, it is ever present. Learning about World War II was a part of my youth in England. My maternal grandfather died during the war, storming a beach in France when my mother was just 2 years old.
Here in western Montana there are veterans who proudly served their country during WWII. Unfortunately, they moving up in years so its important to honor them now, thanking them for the sacrifice they made for our freedom.
On January 8, 2010 a group of veterans gathered at Fire Station 2 in Seeley Lake to honor a very special valley resident and Marine: Bud Moore.
Bud enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1943 and found himself at the forefront of the action, including those major battles at Peleliu, Okinawa, and New Briton. Bud was a machine gunner, scout-sniper and First Sergeant in the First Marine Division under famous regimental commander Chesty Puller.
Last week valley resident and former Marine Greg Hamilton had the honor of presenting Bud with some of the famous black volcanic sand from the small island of Iwo Jima. To all Marines, past and present, Iwo Jima is sacred, hallowed ground, Hamilton explained.
Access is closed to the island except for one day a year when Americans are allowed to go on the island and pay their respects. In 2006 Hamiltons daughter Errin, who herself is a Marine, was given the honor of going to Iwo Jima. She gathered a bag of the sacred sand and upon her return, presented her father with a jar of sand. Hamilton in turn last summer presented a jar of sand to his long-time friend Bob Parcell, retired Marine Colonel, of Condon. And Parcell thought it only appropriate to present Bud with a jar.
On Iwo Jima in February and March of 1945, nearly 7000 Marines and Navy Corpsman made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and over 18,000 were wounded, noted Hamilton at last weeks cerrmony. Parcell echoed Hamiltons sentiment over the weekend, noting, It is very sacred to the Marine Corps.
This is more than just black sand, Hamilton said. This is a symbol of the supreme sacrifice made by hard men over 65 years ago for all of us and our country.
To Marines Bud Moore, Bob Parcell, Greg & Errin Hamilton and to the countless others in our valley, thank you for your commitment and selfless service to our country.