Sunday, February 19, 2017

Today we honor the men of Iwo Jima

by Kevin  “Coach” Collins 

Seventy two years ago today the United States Marine Corps sent waves of teenage men onto the black foreboding beaches on a Japanese held island called Iwo Jima. Capturing Iwo Jima was essential to the American war against Japan as it offered a place for battered bombers to safely land which would save the lives of hundreds of airmen returning from sorties over Japan in barely flyable planes.

The average age of these men was just under nineteen. They knew what was at stake and charged up Iwo’s beaches sometimes straight into enemy machine gun fire that would have stopped lesser soldiers. They kept pushing and killing and getting killed, but never stopped; never whined; never “protested” and never thought of disgracing themselves by demanding a “safe space.”
Iwo Jima Flag Raising

They were the finest America had and they did a job that simply had to be done. They fought to keep us from being the slaves of the Japanese. They made sure the Marine boast that “If it wasn’t for the United States Marines we’d be speaking Japanese,” was backed up not by words, but by their blood.

Today the great grandsons of the Men of Iwo Jima are largely an embarrassment to themselves and their country. Their blue spiked hair, gold nose rings and proud ignorance of how and why America works make them pale shadows when juxtaposed with their hero great grandfathers.

Many of the Men of Iwo Jima had not finished high school when they stepped forward to fight for their country. Many of them had volunteered after the terrible beating the Marine Corps had sustained in battles like Guadalcanal and Peleliu. 
Iwo Jima Memorial

Yet they still came. They didn’t have to be told what they had to do. They were men at the age of 16 and 17 and many were handling man size responsibilities even before they were sweating it out in Marine Boot Camp.

Now there are only a few of these warriors left. Those who are still with us are frail and not what they once were physically but just as strong in their love of America as ever.  Should you have the honor meeting one of these heroes thank him because God knows he deserves our thanks and recognition.

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