U.S. Army soldiers make an amphibious landing on the banks of Germany’s Rhine River. Navy sailors take a break from combat for a dip in the Pacific Ocean. A young marine cleans sand out of his shoe. These World War II–era images are part of a small collection of photographs currently on display in the basement of National Geographic’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Sorry, not open to the public, but we’re bringing you a selection here on Proof, along with the original captions.)
Our greatest generation is rapidly dying and soon will only live on through pictures. Whenever I meet a World War II veteran now it’s like I am face to face with a superhero and don’t know what to say.