Much to the displeasure of Raquel, I’m starting to travel some for my “other job.” I think she’s happy she doesn't have to clean up behind me for a while but I think deep down, she misses me when I’m gone. In August I traveled to Tarawa, site of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. Starting on the morning of November 20, 1943, more than 1,000 American men were killed in roughly 72 hours of fighting with the Japanese. Hundreds of Marines were gunned down in the water trying to make it to shore.
It's estimated that as many as 450 Marines remain buried on Tarawa. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command returned there this year in an attempt to find some of these lost heroes.
I’ve been sitting in front of this computer for quite some time, trying to come up with the words to describe this place. It’s beautiful yet disgusting. Inspiring yet depressing. It is at the same time the best and worst humanity has to offer.
I spent almost four weeks on the tiny, overpopulated atoll, working under the South Pacific sun in heat I had never experienced, even in Kuwait.
I watched a woman wash laundry by hand for over 6 hours non-stop. I saw numerous young children ride in the lap of their parent, on motorcycles. I witnessed people relieving themselves in the streets. We were shown extreme generosity by those who have nothing. And then there were the children, but I’ll save that for another post.
I’ll never forget the smell, the heat, the people. My time on the islands will always be with me.
But I am very happy to be home.