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WWII Vet Larry Kirby Reflects On American Values05:29
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Larry Kirby, a WWI veteran, stands in the On Point studio with host Tom Ashbrook on April , 2016. (Sarah Platt / WBUR)
Larry Kirby, a WWI veteran, stands in the On Point studio with host Tom Ashbrook on April , 2016. (Sarah Platt / WBUR)

Straight out of High School in 1942, Larry Kirby enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.  He was 18-years-old. He served in World War II’s Pacific Theater with the 2nd Battalion, 9th regiment, 3rd Marine Division, fought in the battles of Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima. He came to our studio to read his essay about his reflections on war, homecoming and how he sees America now.

Looking back it seems to me that we who were raised in the great Depression were partially trained for life in the military. That existence of abject poverty, living in the run-down buildings of a slum or ghetto and being part of a community in which everyone was penniless. Where I lived, in Brookline, Massachusetts, outside Boston, we were saved by a culture wherein everyone in that ghetto would, without hesitation, help any other person in the neighborhood. Only through mutual assistance was there a chance of our continued existence.

You can read the full essay at Foreign Policy

Larry Kirby, a WWII veteran, records an essay in the On Point studio in Boston on April 9, 2016. (Sarah Platt / WBUR)
Larry Kirby, a WWII veteran, records an essay in the On Point studio in Boston on April 9, 2016. (Sarah Platt / WBUR)
Larry Kirby, in a 1943 photo from his U.S. Navy recruitment days. In this picture, he was 18. (Courtesy Larry Kirby)
Larry Kirby, in a 1943 photo from his U.S. Navy recruitment days. In this picture, he was 18. (Courtesy Larry Kirby)

This segment aired on May 26, 2016.

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