WW II picture is worth 1,000 memories for O.C. resident and his dad

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by syscom3, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    News: WW II picture is worth 1,000 memories for O.C. resident and his dad | sanchez, corre, bill, didn, levitt - OCRegister.com

    Sunday, July 20, 2008
    WW II picture is worth 1,000 memories for O.C. resident and his dad
    David Sanchez and friends salute William Sanchez on his 90th birthday.
    By FRED SWEGLES
    THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

    Staring into the computer, doing research on World War II, 51-year-old David Sanchez couldn't believe the face that he saw among a sea of faces in a picture of Americans and Filipinos surrendering to Japanese forces on May 6, 1942, at Malinta Tunnel, Corregidor, in the Philippines.

    "He was right in front … leading the men out," Sanchez said. "I saw him and it was like looking in the mirror at myself. 'There is my father.'"

    Sanchez, of Huntington Beach, excitedly met with his father, William Sanchez of Monterey Park, to verify if the face in the photo really was Sgt. William Sanchez, who would have been 24 in the picture. "His jaw dropped when he saw it," David said. A piece of history.

    Saturday night, some other pieces of an unlikely puzzle were in a room together as David tossed a surprise 90th birthday party for his dad in Santa Ana. Harry Corre, 85, was there. So was Dr. Harry Levitt, 93.

    The guest of honor, Bill Sanchez, has known Corre for 10 or so years through meetings of an ex-POW group weekly at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles. What they didn't realize until four months ago was that they are standing right next to each other in that historic photo from Malinta Tunnel.

    About four months ago at one of the ex-POW meetings, Bill Sanchez showed the photo to Corre. "He says, 'That's me outside the Malinta Tunnel,'" Corre said, "and I say, 'Gee, that's funny. That's me standing next to you.' We never knew it for 60-odd years."

    "It's wholly coincidence," Bill Sanchez said. "We were both in the 59th Coast Artillery Regiment, but we didn't know each other."

    A third piece of the puzzle also was at Saturday night's party, Dr. Harry Levitt. He's part of the same weekly meetings of ex-POWs in Los Angeles. One day, maybe 10 or 15 years ago, Levitt turned up at a meeting and he and Corre recognized each other.

    "The doctor operated on me," Corre said.

    "You don't forget a face like that," Dr. Levitt said.

    At Cabanatuan POW Camp in the Philippines, shrapnel in Corre's leg had become badly infected. "The foreign body had to come out," the doctor recalled. "We didn't have any anesthesia. We didn't have any tools."

    "He got five guys to sit on me, and he cleaned it out with a toothbrush and soap," Corre said.

    And how is Bill Sanchez doing at 90? He's active as a Southern California advocate for veterans' benefits and gives talks about the war, David said.

    "I'm always amazed at his attitude and his physical abilities," said Peter Limon, 85, a longtime San Clemente resident now living in San Juan Capistrano. Limon has known Sanchez 20 years, seeing him at veterans' functions.
     
  2. wilbur1

    wilbur1 Active Member

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    Thats a great story thanks :D
     
  3. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Holy crap, that's frikkin awesome!!!!!


    :salute::signcool::salute:
     
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