Wednesday marked the 69th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima – one of the worst battles of World War II.
Across the nation many remembered this day from 69 years ago.
In Newington, Connecticut, a memorial was recently built and is the only flag raising memorial built by survivors of the Battle of Iwo Jima. The flag flown at the memorial is historically correct with 48 stars. There is also sand from Iwo Jima beaches in the concrete base. The memorial also includes inscriptions of the names of 100 men from Connecticut who died during the battle. The 69th anniversary will be marked on February 22 and 23 by events being held by members of the Iwo Jima Memorial Historical Foundation.
Many local media outlets took time to speak with and honor their veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima including Jim Baize in West Lafayette, Indiana, and Troy Bowling in Lexington, Kentucky.
Baize was only 17 when his ship was hit on the shores of Iwo Jima, killing everyone but him. Though he was wounded he fought for seven days in hand to hand combat. Baize was awarded 23 medals by the end of World War II.
Bowling was an 18-year-old Marine wounded by machine gun fire on the second day of the battle. He recalled lying in a hole at Iwo Jima, “I lay on the black sand of Iwo Jima, looked up at the heavens and said, get me out of here alive and I’ll serve mankind for the rest of my life.”
Bowling was presumed dead, and word had even reached his parents before it could be stopped.
After four years of recovering from his wounds, Bowling began to volunteer at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lexington. Recently he was honored by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, U.S. Representative Andy Barr, R-Lexington, and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray for his 73,000 hours of volunteer work.
On February 19, 1945, American forces reached the shores of Iwo Jima. On February 23, 1945, the fifth day of battle, soldiers raised the flag atop Mount Suribachi. This was the first time the American flag was raised on Japanese soil. After more than 6,800 Americans died and more than 18,000 Japanese were killed, the battle ended on March 26, 1945.
Many took to Twitter to remember this day in history.
— SaveOurGrandchildren (@DgailB) February 20, 2014
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) February 20, 2014
On the day in history, heroes were on their way to an island beach in Japan. REMEMBER IWO JIMA Feb. 19~March 26,1945 pic.twitter.com/rHtBexjNPJ
— MONICA (@LeMarquand) February 20, 2014
Feb 19, 1945: 9am~ 4th and 5th Marines on Iwo Jima's beaches – By nightfall 550 Marines were dead and 1,800 wounded. pic.twitter.com/tcN0PnyWX8
— Tom T. (@VRWCTexan) February 20, 2014
Today in 1945, after 72 days of bombardment, US Marines land on Iwo Jima. Within weeks nearly 20,000 Japanese will die & only 200 surrender
— Dan Snow (@thehistoryguy) February 19, 2014
Image via YouTube.