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True Heroes of Iwo Jima

No less than 254 years have passed since, in 1776, there came about the boisterous birth of the United States. During the quarter of a millennium since that date the U.S. has known only 21 years of peace.

Peace is an unprofitable enterprise which the remaining 233 years sought to relieve with wars. It follows therefore that the United States has more military icons than do most other countries, a possible exception being England.  

Of approximately 220 countries across and around the world all but 20 of them have been invaded by England. Don’t tell Washington DC; they hate playing second fiddle to Devil’s Island.

One of America’s most celebrated military images is that of the six servicemen who participated in the raising of Old Glory, the raising of Old Glory atop Mount Suribachi during the storming of Iwo Jima. 

This iconic image was, in fact, a second theatrical production of an earlier incident that had gone un-photographed. Being a captivating moment the incident was too good an opportunity to let slip.

Several servicemen were ‘volunteered’ to carry out the re-enactment of the raising of the United States flag on the peak of Mount Suribachi.

The never-say-die flag raisers who completed the re-take were five Marines and a Navy corpsman. Three of these heroes were subsequently killed in this same action in which 22,000 American servicemen lost their lives. One of these flag raisers was Ira Hayes, a Marine and an ethnic native of the Red Indian Pima tribe.

Native-American Ira Hayes was afterwards ordered home to take part in a War Bond tour. 

Sadly, this shy introvert not only hated his celebrity status but also felt overwhelming guilt that the Marines, who had first raised the flag on the mount, whilst actually under withering fire were never recognised. 

Hayes brooded on being one of only five survivors from a platoon of 45 men. His later being feted at the White House only served to exacerbate the brave man’s decline into alcoholism. The health of Ira Hayes spiralled downwards until he died on January 24 1955.

The Indian brave passed away on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona where he had been born.

For those unfamiliar with the term reservation these townships are government-approved settlements for America’s Native American communities.

Throughout the United there are 326 tribal designated reservations. As there are in the U.S. 567 registered tribes, not every tribe gets a reservation (apartheid camp). In apartheid South Africa they are known as townships.

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1 reply »

  1. Not to brag, but one of my grandfathers (I’m an American) was there at Iwo Jima WWII after the carnage. he said it was very nasty what he saw and never told us directly what he saw. He saw the raising of the flag, too, but he did not take a picture as he didn’t have one and he didn’t think it would become a historical event.

    That’s my claim to fame, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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