band of brothers

I spent hours today reading through the war journal of a Marine in World War II. But not just any Marine... One nicknamed Swede, who served with my Grandpa.

Swede's health is failing, and his family has been racing the clock to type up his old journals, compile his stories from the War, and track down the families of the men who served with him (who were named in his journals).

Grandpa and Swede's Marine company fought in the Battle of Peleliu, which had the highest casualty rate of any battle in the War. The fact that they both survived, along with Swede's handwritten accounts, is astounding. Reading through the journal felt like I was watching Band of Brothers. It was filled with fun memories of poker nights and basketball games, as well as horrific tragedies of wounded warriors...

My Grandpa, who passed away when I was 3 years old, rarely spoke of his experiences as a Marine, besides a few lighthearted stories about his buddies. So reading through these journals has made my Grandpa come alive to me in a whole new way. What a priceless gift!

There were a few pictures that included my Grandpa, and all I could do was stare long and hard at his face... into his eyes. Because in his face I see my Dad and my brothers. The resemblances are haunting in the best possible way.

Carmine Ronzino is pictured on the bottom left

All I kept thinking as I read was how much I wish my Gram was still around for this. With how incredibly proud of Grandpa it left me, I can't imagine how much it would have made her heart swell.

In an email Swede's daughter sent my brother, she said that her dad "said Carmine talked a lot about his family". That made me smile so big, inside and out. That short sentence says so much about who Grandpa was, and the legacy he passed on to all of us.

I am so very proud to be a Ronzino.

Tell us something about your family and legacy...