I watched the battle of Alcatraz, and it was that, from the corners of Filbert and Scott street in San Francisco, three blocks from our house, as a little boy. It was my first experience with the speed of sound as opposed to the speed of light. I asked my mother, who took us to a good point to overlook the bay and Alcatraz, why I saw flashes but didn’t hear the “boom” until seconds later! The Marines made a regular amphibious assault on the island, and we could hear the noise from grenades and, I suppose, morter rounds, as well as automatic weapons fire. Even at just under seven years old, it is still pretty much etched in my memory today, 62 years later.
Perhaps that’s why I have so much respect for the men who have lived that experience, sometimes for days, weeks and months at a time, in actual military combat. I can understand why it is something that never leaves them. Bless them all!