THE FLAG RAISINGS ON IWO JIMA
The battle for Iwo Jima stared on February 19, 1945 and the island was declared secure on March 26, 1945. There were 6,821 Marines killed and 19, 217 wounded.
There is an extinct volcano, Mount Suribachi, on the south end of the island. On the morning of February 23, a 40 man combat patrol (mostly from Third Platoon, Easy Company) was sent up Mt. Suribachi to attach and occupy the crest. First Lieutenant Harold Schrier, E Company’s executive officer, who volunteered to lead the patrol, was to raise an America flag on top to signal that the mountaintop was captured. Once Schrier and his men were on top they attached the flag to a Japanese iron water pipe. Then Lt. Schrier, Platoon Sgt. Ernest Thomas and Sgt. Henry Hansen raised the flag, planting the flagstaff into the ground. Seeing the raising of the national colors immediately caused loud cheers from the Marines, sailors, and Coast Guardsmen on the south end beaches of Iwo Jima and from the men on the ships near the beach.
Some two hours after the first flag was raised, the Marines decided that a larger flag should be raised so it would be more visible. Sgt. Michael Strank, a squad leader of Second Platoon, E Company, was ordered to take three Marines from his squad to raise the replacement flag. He selected Cpl. Harlon Block, Pfc. Ira Hayes, and Pfc Franklin Sousley. Rene Gagnon, a Srcond Battalion, 28th Marines runner for E Company, was ordered to take the replacement flag up the mountain and return with the original flag that had been raised.
Once Gagnon and the four other marines were on top, another Japanese pipe was found by Hayes and Sousley and taken near the first flag position. After the replacement flag was attached to the pipe, Lt. Schrier ordered the replacement flag to be raised and the first flag lowered at the same time. Gagnon then brought the first flag back down the mountain. To keep the flagstaff in a vertical position, rocks were added around the base and a rope was tied to it. Associated Press combat photographer Joe Rosenthal’s photograph of the second flag-raising became world-famous and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The flag raising was also filmed by Sgt. Bill Genaust, who was killed in action a few days later.
The six men originally credited with the flag raising in the photograph was Sgt. Henry Hansen, Ph M2c John Bradley, Pfc. Rene Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes, Pfc. Franklin Sousley, and Sgt. Michael Strank. Sgt. Hansen, Pfc. Sousley, and Sgt. Strank were all later killed in action on Iwo Jima.
President Franklin Roosevelt paid for the War by selling bonds to the U.S. public. There had been six “Bond Tours” that toured the country to inspire Americans to buy bonds, all elaborate shows consisting of stadium appearances, spotlights, music, war heroes, and Hollywood starts. And FDR needed more money for the war effort. On March 30th President Roosevelt ordered the six flag raisers in Rosenthal’s flag raising photo to be sent to Washington, D.C. They would lead the 7th Bond Tour.
John Bradley, Ira Hayes, and Rene Gagnon were brought to Washington, D.C. Hansen, Starank, and Sousley had been killed in fighting on Iwo Jima. For the next two months everyone in America would see Rosenthal’s photograph over and over. The three Marines would tour the country, and every city was running that photograph in the paper. It was seen in over one million retail store windows, 16,000 movie theaters, 15,000 banks, 200,000 factories, 30,000 railroad stations, and 5,000 large billboards. The 7th Bond Tour raised $24 Billion (1945 dollars) for the U.S. Treasury, more than any other bond tour. This would be the largest borrowing from the American public in history. However, there were hard times on the road. Ira Hayes was a native America, and some towns the three men visited on the tour refused to permit the American hero in restaurant dining rooms. But, Hayes later said, “That was the facts of life back in the 40s.” Rene Gagnon commented,” So they would slap Ira with a couple bottles of whiskey, leave him in his room and say, ‘ In this town, you have to stay up here.’”
A controversy arose as to the identity of the person shown at the right end and bottom of the flagstaff in the photo. When Harlon Block’s mother first viewed the photograph in the Weslaco, Texas newspaper. She immediately exclaimed, “That’s Harlon”, pointing to the flag-raiser on the right. She never wavered in her belief that it was her son Harlon in the photo.
Then, on March 30, when President Roosevelt ordered the three men to Washington, D.C. where it was determined that Hansen, not Block, was in the photo. On April 7th, Rene Gagnon mistakenly identified the person in the photograph as Sgt. Henry Hansen who had participated in the first flag-raising earlier that morning of February 23rd. On April 8th, the Marine Corps released publicly the names of the six flag-raisers in the photograph which were identified by Gagnon. He also incorrectly identified John Bradley. When John Bradley arrived in Washington, D.C. a few days later, Bradley (he incorrectly identified himself in the photograph) concurred with Gagnon that Hansen was in the photograph. However, on April 19th, when Ira Hayes arrived in Washington, D.C., he told the lieutenant colonel interviewing him about who the flag-raisers were, that an “error” was made, Block and not Hansen was at the base of the flagstaff in the photo. Hayes was then told the six names were already released and since Block and Hansen were both deceased , to not say a word about again. The lieutenant colonel later claimed Hayes never mentioned Block’s name to him.
In 1946, after Hayes was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps (December 1945), he visited the family of Harlon Block at their home in Texas and told them Harlon was in the photograph. Mrs. Block then persuaded Mr. Block to write their congressman about the matter which he did in September and the Marine Corps replied that an investigation would be held by them into the identities of the flag-raisers. The investigation which began in December and concluded in January, 1947, found that it was indeed Block and not Hansen in the picture, and no blame was to be placed on anyone in this matter.
John Bradley’s son, James, wrote a best-selling book about the events that took place on February 23, 1945, “Flags of Our Fathers,” which was made into a 2006 film directed by Clint Eastwood. But in 2016 the Marine Corps announced that it was actually Marine Corps Private First Class Harold Schultz, not Bradley in the photograph.
Due to new evidence and modern technology, the Marine Corps announced this past week, in a news release, that the man in the photograph is not Rene Gagnon, but Corp. Harold P. Keller.
Only two of the flag-raisers are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Ira Hayes and Michael Strank.
“If our country is to survive and prosper, we must summon the courage to condemn and reject the liberal agenda, and we had better do it soon.”
“YOU JUST CAN’T MAKE THIS S**T UP” CATEGORY
Oxford University has banded clapping of hands because they have determined it is an “Anxiety Trigger”.
AN OPINION FROM THE DEPLORABLE INFIDEL
You would think by now the far-left America hating morons would have demanded the name of Arlington National Cemetery be changed because it was the name given to the plantation of Robert E. Lee, where Arlington is located. But to really think about it, these morons know nothing about American history, therefore they have no clue about the history of Arlington.
A SIMPLE TRUTH FOR TODAY
“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us all.”
Justice William O. Douglas