ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Just one day after the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima, Pacific Theater WWII veterans are being honored and remembered.
During WWII, the Battle of Iwo Jima was the only marine battle where American casualties exceeded the Japanese.
Sal Farmularo of Schenectady was one of many who put his life on the line in the pacific. He says not a day goes by where he does not think about the horrors he saw on the island.
“It was the worst place on the face of the earth,” said Farmularo.
On Friday, the Albany Marine Corps League held a complimentary breakfast and ceremony at the Joseph E. Zaloga American Legion Post on Everett Rd. Farmularo says the breakfast served as a reminder that some of the men he fought alongside never had the chance to grow old, like him.
“A lot of my friends never came home with me. Guys I went to boot camp with, I miss them,” he said.
The thing the vets remember most about their time in the service is being there for their country when their country needed them the most.
“To have been on the front lines, I’ll say twelve days, I was wounded on the thirteenth day. But to be there for twelve days and come out of it literally whole, I feel blessed,” said Corporal Tom Lemme, Iwo Jima survivor.
Corporal Tom Lemme of Albany, also in the thick of the action in Iwo Jima, says no one thought they would get the type of fight they did, calling it the five longest weeks of his life.
“Before we landed, I could look at that island of Iwo Jima and it was bombarded to the point where you thought nothing could be alive on it. We all went into it with hopes that it would be an easy operation. As it turned out, it wasn’t,” said Corporal Lemme.
Several Iwo Jima survivors say they’re appreciative and lucky to be with us today.