The Sands of Iwo Jima

Having met, photographed, inaterviewed and written about several World War II veterans who fought in the battle of Iwo Jima, I have heard all about the unique volcanic black sand that the Marines had to deal with as they struggled ashore under constant bombardment from Japanese machine guns, mortars and artillery. Some likened it to ball bearings since it was impossible to get traction on or to dig a foxhole into. The sand's nature was so notorious that in 1949, John Wayne starred in a classic war movie entitled "The Sands of Iwo Jima".     

On June 10 I was thrilled to participate in the second anniual Cheers for Heroes fundraiser at the Lake George Beer Hub, where I rendezvoused with two WWII vets, 98-year-old George Jensen of the 2nd Marine Division and 93-year-old August Bolton of VMSB454, and two active Marines, Sgts Martin and Vivier, currently stationed at the Armed Forces Recruiting Office in Saratoga Springs. The two generations of Marines really hit it off and many stories were swapped.

As we were leaving, gunnery Sgt. Martin invited me down to his office to give me a small sample of actual Iwo Jima sand, which he was able to collect when he spent a week on the island a few years ago. He is trained as an F-18 mechanic and he was sent there to repair two F-18s that were stranded on Iwo Jima. I accepted his offer, and he spooned out a few ounces for me yesterday which I will pass along to George Jensen. Just looking at the sand gives me the willies!

The experience brings the history of WWII back almost to life. I never thought a handful of sand could have such an emotional impact!



A new review of "We Were There"

I just received a wonderful letter from Michael Douglass of Cortland NY:

Dear Dr. Way

Wow, what a great book! Thank you for making the effort to put those men and women's stories forever in our minds. We Were There was great and made me that much prouder of my dad and being an American. My dad was in the Pacific, island-hopping for 4 months before he got several diseases which took him out of combat and may have saved his life. I feel like a complete wimp compared to what those men and women went through. We all have a great life thanks to them. There doesn't seem to be any way to ever pay our debt of gratitude to them. Thank you so much for getting their stories together and putting them out there for all of us to read and understand a little of what they went through. I hope our paths cross some day so I can shake your hand in thanks. I am an avid hiker, paddler, and lover of the Adirondacks.

Thanks sincerely,

Micharel Douglass

 Thank YOU Mike for your wonderful review- you made my day!!


I can't stand it!!

A mere two months into the Trump presidency, The Donald’s performance is fulfilling predictions of irrational behavior based on his extreme Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He has already severely degraded the prestige of his position as the world’s most powerful statesman. If recent polls have shown that Americans have a lower opinion of the United States Congress than of cockroaches, then to what will they now compare our president- toenail fungus? Trump is making a mockery of our government at home, while also being ridiculed and distrusted around the world. He has become a pariah to the Mexicans, while the Russians are undoubtedly congratulating themselves for making him look like a fool. Only Kim Jung Un of North Korea outdoes our president for irrationality, but Un has had several years’ head start.

Our new president drags Barack Obama’s still-respected name and reputation through the mud, spewing lies about wiretapping his phone and other verbal abuse to distract the American public away from his plans to lower taxes on the very wealthy while weakening or abolishing programs for the needy. Trump gives Obama no credit for helping our country recover from the Great Recession, but instead blames him for causing “the mess” he supposedly inherited. He wants to replace Obamacare with a crummy bill that he doesn’t even understand but he doesn’t care- as long as he “wins”. He dismisses global warming as fantasy so he can enable his cronies in the coal and oil industries to reverse Obama’s success in reducing our consumption of fossil fuels, then he guts the Environmental Protection Agency. His cabinet chairmen and chairwomen are selected based on their willingness to undermine and dismantle the very departments they are responsible for. He fires the Federal Prosecutor who is currently investigating his other cronies such as Roger Ailes of Fox News, then he accuses the media of generating ‘fake news’ while creating massive amounts of his own via Twitter and Fox News. He has still not released his tax returns that he once promised during the campaign to release “in a couple weeks”, possibly because of damning connections to the Russians and innumerable examples of shafting subcontractors that did valuable work for his companies without ever getting paid. He treats the press like a scourge for doing their job of bringing his irrationality, disingenuousness, and bigotry to the light of day. He sends his inscrutable Secretary of State on his first overseas trip to sensitive countries like Korea without allowing the press to go along. His “populism” is a euphemism for the kind of mind-warping vitriol that allowed Adolf Hitler to convince the German people that they needed to eliminate the Jewish people of Europe and start another world war to reclaim the prestige of their country so they could ‘make Germany great again’. Yet he claims his administration is “running like a fine-tuned machine”. Apparently, his machine is a cluster bomb!

It has become common knowledge that Trump is afflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, defined as “A disorder characterized by an enduring pattern of grandiose beliefs and arrogant behavior together with an overwhelming need for admiration and a lack of empathy for (and even exploitation of) others. It is a Personality disorder characterized by excessive self-love, egocentrism, grandiosity, exhibitionism, excessive needs for attention, and sensitivity to criticism.” Meanwhile, Wikipedia indicates that “Megalomania is an obsolete name for narcissistic personality disorder but is still in use informally.”

We are now living in a country run by a megalomaniac. And sadly, we deserve him, because we elected him. I am praying that I am totally off base, and that the Trump presidency will turn out to be one of the most successful in our country’s history. Unfortunately, his mental disorder makes his future behavior all too predictable, since he is incapable of recognizing that he is at fault in any way for his many errors in judgement. We have let the fox into the henhouse, and now he is eating all our chickens! Let’s hope we survive the experience- and learn from it before the next election.


Great feedback on "We Were There"

 I just received a great review of We Were There from Gary Stewart, a veteran. That is the greatest kind of feedback I can ask for! Here it is:

Dan: As one who grew up long ago in the Adirondacks(Olmstedville), I compliment you on your most recent book “We Were There” which I just finished reading. I am a retired veteran who served 26 years in our Army and my uncle Reuben Davis was included in your book. You did a great job in obtaining and telling Reuben's story and those of the many other veterans included in the book. Thanks for taking the time to capture these important pieces of our history and relay them in such a lively and robust but yet enjoyable way. I will be following up to procure your other books about your most interesting life in the Adirondacks.

Thanks Gary! I hope you find the other books as enjoyable!


Upstate Medical School lecture

On Wednesday January 26, I delivered my third and last biannual talk to the Rural Primary Care class of medical students at the Upstate Medical School in Syracuse, recounting my 36-year-career practicing family medicine in Warrensburg, North Creek, and Indian Lake. It was bittersweet having one more chance to promote my profession to over 50 future physicians. If one or two of these second-year students follow that path it will have been worth the weeks of preparation and10-hour round trip in the rain and snow  it took to pull it off. Thanks to Dr. Cynthia Elkins MD for inviting me back!

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