Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Remembering Iwo Jima

Raising the American Flag Over Iwo Jima

An invading army sets its flag on your soil. The first such foreign flag in centuries. They came in their boats and we swam behind them in the water and slaughtered them like lambs. They came on our soil to end the war that would end all wars. We didn't care. They invaded our lands. Let them sue for peace in the great halls, where speeches are made. We will slaughter everyone that comes ashore.

America wanted to attack something that would make it difficult for the Japanese to defend and they found the perfect place to attack Japan. Iwo Jima, a small island about 8 square miles large and 650 miles away from Tokyo on Japanese soil. Benefits of attacking Iwo Jima were that they already had 2 Japanese Airfields. The Distance was much shorter and they could refuel using the Japanese Airfields and B-29s were much more effective at that range.

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Before the battle itself, For 70 days the US sent in air and sea bombers to weaken the Japanese defense and make the actual assault much easier, but according to the World War Database “the massive display of fireworks merely made a small dent in the defenders' numbers”(6). The bombers had no effect on the Japanese soldiers, because they were hidden underground. Their strategy to weaken the Japanese defense before the actual assault had failed. Due to the failure U.S had to send more marines then they expected. The U.S sent 110,000 marines in 880 ships to Iwo Jima from Hawaii. This was the most marines sent by U.S for a battle, this was also one of the biggest battles the U.S had fought at the time.

In 36 days there were nearly twenty-six thousand US casualties, nearly seven thousand Americans soldiers had been killed in action. In contrast nearly all twenty two thousand Japanese soldiers that had been fighting were killed. When the American soldiers reached the top of the hill six of the soldiers decided to raise the American flag to show victory. Joe Rosenthal who was the only photographer at Iwo Jima who took the picture which would later become known as “Raising of the Flag”

This photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.
“From (left) in the Front are Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, John Bradley and Harlon Block. The back two are Michael Strank and Rene Gagnon. “Strank, Block and Sousley would die shortly afterwards. Bradley, Hayes and Gagnon became national heroes within weeks after the picture was published in the newspapers”.

Tuesday, February 23rd will be the 65th Anniversary of the raising of the American flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima. In honor of World War II Veterans and this important date, the National Veterans Foundation (NVF) announces the release of Semper Fi, an historical tribute to the courage, valor, and sacrifice of the U.S. servicemen who turned the tide of World War II, and paved the way to victory.

The video can be seen in its entirety at www.iwojima65.org.

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