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From the Video Vault: Basilone and LaGuardia Selling War Bonds

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Those of you watching HBO’s The Pacific have been following the story of John Basilone (Jon Seda), the Marine hero and Medal of Honor winner who was dispatched to tour the States and pitch war bonds to fund the troops. While I’m aware, I thought I’d show you this bit of archival footage from that effort, which I found on YouTube weeks ago as I was working on my review of The Pacific: Basilone making a film for war bonds with New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. The YouTuber who posted them says he served as a researcher on the miniseries.

As the miniseries shows, and this clip seems to demonstrate, making a bond sales pitch may not have been the equivalent of a firefight, but it took a Marine like Basilone out of his comfort zone in its own way. (And from his expressions at the various points where the camera cuts, it was no picnic for LaGuardia either.)

A couple other things that struck me, from the perspective of 2010: (1) LaGuardia making the point of pointing out his and Basilone’s Italian roots and emphasizing, “We’re Americans!” and (2) the now foreign-seeming notion of Americans being asked by their leaders to sacrifice in wartime.