Archive for February 23rd, 2011

February 23, 2011

Rees Lloyd’s Liberty Milestones: February 23: Remembering Iwo Jima

by lewwaters

On February 23, 1945, the valor of Americans at war in defense of freedom became immortalized by a photograph, almost accidentally taken, which captured the historic moment when five U.S. Marines and one Navy corpsman raised the Flag of the United States of America over Mt. Suribachi on the island of Iowa Jima, the bloodiest battle of World War II.

From that day to this, that photo strikes the hearts of Americans. It inspires awe, admiration, wonder at the courage it reflects, and, at the same time, it is so overwhelming that it evokes a solemnity, a kind of sadness, a deep respect, and a sense that this is America, this is the best of America, these Marines, these ordinary Americans of extraordinary dedication to their country, to freedom, to their buddies; they are, their essential goodness is, what America is at its best, and we, often by an unearned and indescribable grace, are a part of that America.

U.S. Marines landed at Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. The bombing and shelling of the tiny island was so intense that a young Marine from Portland, OR., James Buchanan, 18, who, inspired by the book “Guadalcanal Diary,” had joined the Marines as soon as he was old enough, turned to a buddy on the landing craft taking them to the beach and said: “Do you think there will be any Japanese left for us.”

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