Tonight I just finished watching the conclusion of HBO’s 10-part mini-series “The Pacific.” For those of you unaware, “The Pacific,” produced by Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks, chronicled the Pacific Theater of action during WWII. Its predecessor, HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” was equally well done and this installment was as remarkable. Many times I shake my head at the programs produced for television, but thanks to installments like these -TV shines a bit brighter. It’s masterful and how TV was intended to be used.
“The Pacific” was a proud moment for TV.
If I had any complaints it would be that it saddens me that so many TV viewers were unable to watch this spectacle due to the fact that HBO is a premium paid cable service. But, I am hoping in years to come that “The Pacific” will be offered to all free of charge over the Internet. Its subject matter is something everyone needs to see for it reminds us about the severity of war.
I found its conclusion tonight beautifully done. Yes, I was brought to tears – who wouldn’t when you’ve been eyewitnesses to the what these featured soldiers endured through the last ten weeks. It was mind-boggling seeing what a smidgen of their lives were like. We saw firsthand what conditions they were under fighting the Japanese Army that would never give up in a terrain unsuitable for life. It was brutal and horrific.
I felt every human emotion possible watching these past ten weeks. I understood what drove some of the men to go AWOL or act crazily. I watched a naive Alabama youth loose his soul and sparkle in his eye as he became great at “killing Japs.” I saw the horror of war when innocent civilians were caught in the cross-fire and I wept when a fallen hero, Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone was killed.
But, it was its ending credits that took my breath away. We had just finished watching some of our favorite characters return home and become acclimated into the American culture and we knew that the series had to end. I wanted to know more and the producers delivered. Through the final credits we learned that the men in the series where based on the lives of “real” men (Marines) and we were able to read what happened to them after the war. Despite what they went through and endured, we were presented with facts about their lives – and you know what? They all thrived. One became a doctor; a couple wrote their memoirs; several stayed in touch with each other; one married his sweetheart from Australia – they made it and had offspring.
My Dad, Albert Ronzoni, could have been in this series. He lived that life in The Pacific. And so in his honor, here’s what could have been said about him after he returned from the war.
Albert Ronzoni was honorably discharged from the United States Army and returned to his hometown of Eveleth, Minnesota. Through the GI bill, he was able to attend the University of Minnesota and graduated with a degree in Pharmacy. He married his wife, Carol, after graduation and subsequently worked at Eveleth’s local drug store. He was active in the VFW and he became a Commander and Carol ran the Ladies Auxiliary. He later moved his family west to California and practiced pharmacy there until his retirement. He died in 2002 and is survived by his wife, two daughters and two grandchildren.
I would like to personally thank Messrs. Spielberg and Hanks and HBO for “The Pacific.” The series opened my eyes to what my Dad went through, but I never knew. Because of this event, I know have a better sense of who my Dad was, but he could never tell us. Dad, I’m sorry that I didn’t understand you – I now know why you were so serious about life for you knew how lucky you were to still have yours. I think that’s the right way we all should live – to be grateful we have this day. And with that, I truly believe “The Pacific” deserves a medal of honor.