67th Anniversary of the Battle for Iwo Jima
Was going through the clips today and came across this Associated Press article:
A brass band played under a blazing sun as American veterans and Japanese dignitaries gathered Wednesday on the remote island of Iwo Jima to mark the 67th anniversary of one of World War II's bloodiest and most symbolic battles.
"Our prayer today is that the souls who died here are resting in peace," said retired Lt. Gen. Larry Snowden, 91, who was a company commander on Iwo Jima. Snowden is the senior surviving officer of the battle. His address at the ceremony was broadcast live to media via a military link-up.
Fighting began on Feb. 19, 1945 and Iwo Jima was declared secure on March 26. Virtually all the Japanese soldiers defending the strategically located crag were killed in the battle, which claimed 6,821 American and 21,570 Japanese lives.
For those who don't have the time to read or watch Flags of our Fathers to honor the anniversary, this Technicolor movie, To the Shores of Iwo Jima is rather interesting to watch.
A few months back my wife and I attended a Medal Of Honor bridge dedication here in Indy, and she told me how much she loved a Iwo MOH recipient Woody Williams. We went and talked to him for a while, and he truly is a wonderful man, so I would be remiss were I not to include something about him.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Demolition Sergeant serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-First Marines, Third Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Island, 23 February 1945. Quick to volunteer his services when our tanks were maneuvering vainly to open a lane for the infantry through the network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines and black, volcanic sands, Corporal Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machine-gun fire from the unyielding positions. Covered only by four riflemen, he fought desperately for four hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flame throwers, struggling back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out one position after another. On one occasion he daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flame thrower through the air vent, kill the occupants and silence the gun; on another he grimly charged enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and destroyed them with a burst of flame from his weapon. His unyielding determination and extraordinary heroism in the face of ruthless enemy resistance were directly instrumental in neutralizing one of the most fanatically defended Japanese strong points encountered by his regiment and aided in enabling his company to reach its' [sic] objective. Corporal Williams' aggressive fighting spirit and valiant devotion to duty throughout this fiercely contested action sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.