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Monday, February 22, 2010

Iwo Jima: 65th Anniversary

Missed this on Friday and shame on me for letting the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima slip past. The month long battle saw some of the worst fighting of WWII. The Japanese on the island were an intractable foe. Of the 22,786 Japanese soldiers entrenched on the island, 21,570 died fighting or by ritual suicide. For most Americans the battle is symbolized by the Joe Rosenthal photograph taken on February 23, 1945. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States on Mount Suribachi. We owe the Greatest Generation of Americans a debt to large to repay: today take a moment and remember the soldiers who died on small island and thank them for the liberty you enjoy every day.

WNC Iwo Jima Veteran Wants Youths To Understand The True Meaning Of Casualties Of War
Edward Lannigan has a box full of medals that testify to his heroic service in the Pacific Theater during World War II, including his presence at Iwo Jima, the bloodiest battle in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps. The battle began 65 years ago this weekend.

In Lannigan's box are two Purple Hearts, a Silver Medal, two presidential citations and other awards attached to fading ribbons, small but poignant recognition of the bravery of a young man — a boy, really — who would return home from war with shrapnel in his skull and only one functional arm and hand.

But the medals are not on display. They live inside the box in a dark corner of the bottom drawer of the desk in his study.

There are many veterans who proudly showcase their war-related decorations. Lannigan is not one of them.


Peter 2/27/2010 10:16:00 AM  

A quibble. No American soldiers died on Iwo, they were Marines and some Navy Corpsmen. We're picky about that.

This is not to say that soldiers didn't die on other islands in the Pacific, they fought and fought well. The strategy of Doug MacArthur was quite effective, leading to a lower casualty rate than the Marines had under Admiral Chet Nimitz.

Not that I know much about high strategy, having reached the exalted rank of Corporal some forty-odd years ago.

KevinQC 3/05/2010 09:13:00 PM  

I stand corrected. Thank you.

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