There is much back story to the Flag Raising. It is complex and confusing.
However the simple fact is that the United States Flag was planted on Japanese soil by US MARINES.
Jerry was always adamant that there were in fact two flag raising's. As usual he was right.
Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal went ashore with General Holland "Howlin' Mad" Smith that morning and when they landed the second flag had just been raised. It was much larger and more visible.
SECNAV Forrestal was ecstatic by all accounts upon seeing the Flag. He turned to Gen. Smith and said, "Holland, the raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years"
68 years ago toady the marked an emotional turning point in the battle. It didn't change the tempo of the combat. Members of the first and second flag raisers would be killed in combat on Iwo Jima.
6,000 Americans would be killed in 38 days of what is considered one of the fiercest battles in MARINE CORPS history.
Marines today say that the benchmark has always been Iwo Jima. MARINE Veterans of Korea, Viet Nam, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan have all pointed to the MARINES of IWO as the truly serious Gunfighters.
Hard to look at Jerry in his later years as anything but a happy go lucky guy from Pawtucket. Who was proud of his family. I saw the grim determination in his face and the set of his jaw in his last days. The face of a MARINE Gunfighter who didn't have the word defeat in his vocabulary.
Tonight a special toast will be given by his friends from the MARINE CORPS and Family at the Whiskey Republic.