Horrendous as is the devastation at Tacloban beach, island of Leyte in the Philippines, the site was once a place of inexpressible joy. I shared it with my closest Army friend, Charles D. Miller of Hudson, Ohio.
We were among the thousands of young infantrymen camped on that coast in 1945 preparing to invade Japan. Regiments of the 81st Wildcat Division were strung out along the beach, a few hundred yards from native Filipino huts built on high stilts against storms and tides.
When Emperor Hirohito sued for peace on Aug. 15, we were delirious with joy. We would survive the war! With flares and machine-gun tracer bullets lighting up the night sky, I started out on the beach to meet Charles who'd been assigned to the next regiment to the north. He would see his dear wife Nancy again! Half a mile along Miller appeared out of the half-darkness. He had set out to see me. We greeted one another wildly. His face creased with joy and emotion, Charles began to cry.
Patrick J. McCarthy, Santa Barbara, CA.