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Barry Family Connection to HBO Miniseries

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By Alyce Barry

My father, John Barry, fought in the South Pacific during World War II and wrote regular letters home to his family.

One of those letters will appear on a poster in New Zealand advertising the upcoming HBO miniseries The Pacific, which begins in the US on Sunday, March 14, 2010, and several weeks later in New Zealand.

A portion of the same letter, in which Dad describes losing his best friend and wishing he could get amnesia, is quoted on page 62 of Practically Shameless.

How Dad's letter came to be on a poster is one of those it's-a-small-world stories made possible by the internet.

I got an email from a woman who works for the ad agency in New Zealand. She had found references to Dad's letters on my website and wanted to ask permission to use one that referred to the fighting on Okinawa. The Pacific is based on several books, including With the Old Breed by E. B. Sledge, whose unit fought alongside Dad's unit on Okinawa. The agency is using letters written by approximately 20 soldiers who fought in the region.

The Pacific was produced by the same team — Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and others — that produced Band of Brothers about an airborne infantry regiment that parachuted into France on D-Day.

So far I've seen just a preview for the miniseries and was stunned by how closely the scenes of troop carriers landing on the beach match my own mental images based on Dad's description.

Although Dad didn't usually say much in his letters about the deaths happening around him, to avoid worrying his mother in particular, that letter about Okinawa was an exception. From a hospital bed Dad wrote that the enemy "are getting my range slowly but surely," wanting the family to know that the odds of his surviving were worsening.

"Hope everybody is all right at home, give them my love," he finished, "No telling when I'll get another chance to write so, All My Love, Your Youngest Son, Johnny."


Alyce Barry is a Certified Shadow Work® Group Facilitator and Coach in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She is the author of Practically Shameless, on's Bestseller list of books about Jungian psychology for more than a year. The book is available in paperback and on audio CD. Read more about Alyce.

This article originally appeared in our free email newsletter in 2010. To subscribe, visit our subscription page.

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