In Memory of.....

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Old 02-19-05, 05:23 PM
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In Memory of.....

Sixty years ago this week, February 23rd 1945, on a tiny volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean, five Marines and a Navy Corpsman of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines raised the Stars & Stripes on the highest point on the island even as a raging battle for control over the eight square mile island continued unabated below them. Two of the six, and 6000 of their fellow Marines and Sailors, would never leave the island of Iwo Jima alive. The flag raising on Mount Suribachi was captured on film by AP correspondent Joe Rosenthal and remains one of the most stirring depictions of the American spirit ever taken. The Marine Corps War Memorial, based on the famous photograph, sits on a high bluff in Arlington National Cemetery looking across the Potomac at Washington, DC. The monument, dedicated on November 10th 1954 - the 179th anniversary of the founding of the Corps - stands as an enduring symbol not only of the sacrifices made on Iwo Jima, but of all Marines past, present, and future. It is one of only a hand full of sites that, by law, flies the American flag 24 hours a day/365 days a year. Inscribed on one side of the monument is the inscription:

"In honor and memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have
given their lives to their country since 10 November 1775"

On the opposite side are the immortal words of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, "Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue".

Postscript: During the Korean war, one Army officer was reported to have complained that the famous photograph prompted Marines to raise a flag over every captured town or piece of terrain. Colonel Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, recipient of an unprecedented five Navy Crosses for valor, put a quick end to the complaint. He reportedly growled in reply that the best fighter was "a man with a flag in his pack and the desire to put it on an enemy strongpoint".

Semper Fi.
 
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Old 02-19-05, 07:57 PM
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Thanks Tow Guy for reminding us again of this important part of our history. For any of you who haven't read it, I highly recommend "Flags Of Our Fathers", not just for the story of bravery, but also the story of the humility of one of the Marines who fought on Iwo Jima.

Every day that passes, so do many of our veterans of WWII. I live in a neighborhood with many retired military, among them quite a few veterans of WWII. It's sad to watch them age, but it's great to think that they got to return home when many of their friends did not.

Thanks to all of them.
 
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Old 02-20-05, 06:08 AM
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Thanks, Frank. I meant to mention that book, which is on my bookshelf as well, in my post. Also, I neglected to pay tribute to the Marines who raised the FIRST flag on Iwo Jima, the famous photograph actually being taken of a larger replacement flag being raised. Very little is ever heard about the earlier raising and those Marines, unfortunately, are destined for historical obscurity.
 
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Old 02-20-05, 06:32 AM
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I was lucky enough to be there at Camp Pendleton when the 28th was reformed in 1967. I did my "Four for the Corps" from 66 to 70. Made and lost many friends. November 10th is a holiday in my mind every year even if many don't realize what that date is.
Semper Fi
 
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Old 02-20-05, 06:40 AM
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My hat goes off to all who served our wonderful country. Thanks for the post Tow Guy I didn't even know the date that had happened. Seens like it would be observed publicly a little more than it is.
 
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Old 02-20-05, 10:52 AM
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Just read the cover article in today's Sunday newspaper "Parade" magazine about the Iwo Jima flag-raising.
Twelve Marines raised two flags on Suribachi: six flag-raisers were subsequently KIA, four were WIA, and the Marine combat photographer who actually filmed it also was later KIA on Iwo Jima. There were two still photographers there...Marine combat photographer Lou Lowery (first and second flag-raisings) and AP photographer Joe Rosenthal (second flag-raising), who took the most famous photo that became the Marine memorial and who won the Pulitzer Prize for it.
The second group of flag-raisers has received all of the publicity, but I've noticed that here in these last few years, that recognition is also now being given to the first group up.
Almost 6,000 Marines were KIA and 18,000 WIA on Iwo Jima, and more than 21,000 Japanese were KIA there.
Mike
 
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Old 02-20-05, 01:21 PM
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Will be interesting to see if anyone airs "Sand of Iwo Jima" on Wednesday. I am fortunate to possess two priceless mementos of my Corps days ('72-'99): A bottle of black volcanic sand from the beach on Iwo Jima and a flag with certificate attesting that it was flown over the War Memorial (a retirement gift not available to the general public).

I would be very surprised if there is not a significant observance at the War Memorial this week. Maybe one of the members in the DC/Arlington area can fill us in.
 
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Old 02-20-05, 07:41 PM
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We are lucky enough to live about 1 hour from Fredericksburg, Texas, home of the (Chester Nimitz) Museum Of The Pacific War, and birthplace of Admiral Nimitz. There was a huge service there this weekend, including patriotic music from WWII era and a reenactment north of the city.

An acquaintance of ours was one of the singers and some friends did attend both the music and battle re-enactment. I do know that it got national news coverage because I did see a piece on it on CBS "Sunday Morning" show.

frank
 
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Old 02-21-05, 01:13 PM
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f.y.i.,

i think the origional "mold" for the memorial is in harlingen, texas at the marine military acadamy. i lived there a few years and that is what i was told.
it gave me chill bumps every time i drove past it going to the airport. its bigger than you think.
 
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