Arriving on Tarawa’s Betio Island, the author found danger, horror, and devastation punctuated by brief glimpses of beauty and humor.
More and more debris filled the water as we neared the desolate shore. 1 Several times a bullet whined near us, and I ducked behind the boat’s wheelhouse. Then, when no more came, we ventured back to watch the shore as we approached. On the beach everything was confusion. Ruin and desolation was everywhere. All of the trees were blackened by smoke and shattered by shell fire. Palms hung limply. The beach had several hundred men milling around who had just come off boats.