WWII Vet gears up for Marine reunion

September 13, 2012 2:47:50 PM PDT
A local World War II veteran is gearing up for a once in a life time adventure.

Jim Hall will travel across the country to reunite with his band of brothers; it is a wish of his that is finally being fulfilled.

84-year-old Jim Hall, a resident at the Masonic Hall of New Jersey in Burlington is packing for the trip of a lifetime. On Monday he will begin a cross-country train trip to Portland, Oregon for the Sixth Marine Division's annual reunion.

"It'll be just like going home to see your family," said Jim Hall.

At 16, Jim left Pleasantville High School, lied about his age and enlisted in the Navy where in, 1945 he became a medic embedded with the Marines during the battle of Okinawa.

He was awarded a purple heart for taking two bullets from Japanese snipers that paralyzed his legs, and a bronze star for then crawling to try to save a severely wounded buddy who had also been shot.

"I dragged my? I just moved myself with my arms to get over to him," Jim said.

Hall administered first aid, but his friend's wounds were devastating.

"I held him in my arms, and I talked to him, but he didn't make it," he remembered.

It is memories like that, forged in the heat and the heartbreak of battle, that drive Jim to want to attend the Marine reunion.

"You get very close. You bond; a band of brothers as they say," he said.

Jim Hall's trip is being financed by the national non-profit Twilight Wish Foundation, a charitable group that grants the wishes of seniors unable to make their own dreams come true.

Jim couldn't afford the trip on his own and is very grateful.

"I probably won't make another one, and so I figured this will be my last chance and they're making it possible," he said.

Jim will be travelling with his 87 year old friend Bob Higgins; fulfilling a wish to see, perhaps for the last time, the Marines he befriended and cared for on the battlefield.


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