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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

History and Memory: Iwo Jima

Chester Clyde Lee, U.S. Navy
Nov 12, 1916 - July 17, 1997
This Day in History: February 23, 1945

February is virtually known as the month of romance, a time of love laced with poetic verses and promises of happiness. It is also home to times of war. It is such times as these that are today's focus of attention. Poetic, yes, in an enduring way. Poetry IS the icon of freedom a unique form used to evoke emotive reactions. What more emotional times are there than those endured during periods of war? Why not weave some iconic webbing that tears at the heart of mankind binding one to another while creating a rich and colorful tapestry of life?

Step back four days...

When US Marines landed on Iwo Jima, February 19, 1945, theirs was but one mission: seize the island. Seize they would but not easily and at a very high price. For me, my remembrance is not one of personal encounter with battle but a personal connection indeed. My dad was there, one of the fortunate ones who returned home.

Papa was a Lt.JG in the U.S. Navy. He served as a radioman on board one of the Navy destroyers. Like so many Veterans returning home from WWII, he never spoke of the war. Sometimes you just knew his thoughts were other than at home and during the night, he would toss 'n' turn, then awaken unexpectedly. Mom would simply tell us it was bad dreams but unlike any monsters we were aware of. 

History and Memory: February 23, 1945

Click to read the Story Behind the Picture.

"In the final analysis battles are won not by machines but my men trained to fight, wanting to live,  but afraid to die. Iwo Jima has come to symbolize the courage and offensive spirit that brought victory to the Armed Forces of the United States in World War II."   
LtCol Whitman Barkley

February 23 marks one of the most memorable days in history. For on this day, a flag was raised atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The year was 1945 during one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. The event and famous photograph have met both commemoration and controversy for decades. This flag raising did not end the battles on Iwo Jima. After 36 days of intense fighting, the remaining Japanese finally surrendered, 1000 chose to live out of the initial 22,000 who occupied the island.

"Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
Commander, Pacific Fleet/Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

Do you know of someone who was there? Perhaps that someone is in your ancestral chain and played a role on this significant day.

Dad, I wish you had spoken of it. . .

It is not unusual for the sons and daughters of WWII veterans to know almost nothing of their fathers' wartime experiences. For the veterans who survived the ordeal, the memories are too painful. Most never talk about the battle(s) that haunt them to the grave. So, I invite you to share with me a time in the life of my dad filled with unspoken words yet overflowing with tradition...Traditions with Papa!

Click the video link, unspoken words, for a tribute to our military and commemoration to my dad. . .

(Be sure to click the Full Screen square at the bottom right corner of the video.)

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