Think about that for a moment. Five weeks, 26,000 Americans either dead or wounded. Today, the island sits mostly unused, save for an air base used by the Japanese since we turned the island over to them in 1968.
The Battle for Iwo Jima was part of something bigger. Quite literally, between the theatres in Europe and the Pacific, the world was at stake. People here understood, and unlike today when most of our population are largely insulated from a pair of battle theatres more than halfway across the world, nearly every American was touched personally by the war, and all made sacrifices.
American flags fluttering in the breeze outside American homes were not an anomaly, not saved for national holidays and the aftermath of devastating attacks. For the most part, I think that Americans knew what they had here in their nation, and were not afraid to fight and die for it. Likewise, they knew evil when they saw it, and were similarly unafraid to fight and die in order to stop it.
We’ve come a long way since then. Regardless, say a little prayer tonight for those men who lost their lives, and for the families here at home who still sport a grainy photograph on their mantle, a memory of a hero long gone but never forgotten.