As a child, if you weren’t dressed in matching clothing and forced to awkwardly pose with your respective sibling, did your parents even love you?
The 21st century’s “then and now” trend to recreate those funny, if not cringe-worthy, photographs has led to a plethora of online posts that range from the humorous to the “my God someone should have called Child Protective Services.”
But as far as then and now photos go, this Vietnam vet’s recreation might take the cake.
In 2016 the then-69-year-old Marine veteran Tom Hanks was thumbing through an old photo album when one photograph in particular — from 1966 — stuck out to him.
Four Marines — Bob Falk, Dennis Puleo, Hanks, and Bob DeVenezia, can be seen mean-mugging while standing around a surfboard on a beach in Oceanside, California.
The photo captures the vim and vigor of the four Marines fresh out of basic training in Parris Island, now stationed at Camp Pendleton, near San Diego.
— Cold War Conversations Podcast (@ColdWarPod) May 20, 2021
The surfboard, a mere prop, was used to attract local women.
“None of us surf[ed],” Tom Hanks later recalled to Press Connects in 2016. “We were looking for girls.”
But the war that brought them together, also disconnected them. “Once in Vietnam, they’d separate, enduring many of the same horrendous conditions, if not the same action,” writes Press Connects. “Two of them would earn Purple Hearts. Each would experience the unexplainable fear of war.”
It wasn’t until around 2011, when Falk stumbled across an online memorial that Hanks had created for a fallen comrade, that the four men reconnected after decades of silence.
“We come from different areas of the country,” Hanks told Press Connects. “We’ve had different careers. We really don’t have a lot in common but the Marine Corps.”
Fifty years after the original photo was taken, the men once again found themselves together near the surf — this time on Cinnamon Beach, Florida.
While the brown haired buzz cuts had turned white and their washboard abs faded away by Father Time, the Marines did an iconic job of recreating their 1966 photo.
“It’s a really funny picture,” DeVenezia later told USMC Life, “but one with a lot of heart behind it.”
Now the only question left is, did they look at this photograph and every time… did it make them laugh?