World Views

My Two Joes

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When the going gets tough, I’m reminded of the two toughest men I’ve ever known: my two Joes. Joey Blue Eyes was my father’s nickname. At 20, this Italian working class boy from Yonkers found himself in the Marine Corps on the front lines of Korea in the 1st Battalion of the 1st Marine Division. Marching north to the Yalu river during the Chosin Reservoir Campaign in 1950, he was one among 12,000 marines who was surrounded by 60,000 Chinese soldiers. When I asked him how he survived, he said: “I kept charging forward, but I kept my head down.”  

My husband has blue eyes, is of Italian descent and is also named Joe. When Joe was 20, he found himself in the army in Vietnam kissing a 500-pound bomb.  Joe and his fellow soldiers were in...

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