Chamblee54

Ira Hayes

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on May 25, 2009

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One of the enduring images of World War II was raising the flag on Iwo Jima. Three of the six men raising the flag died on the island in the next month. A fourth, Ira Hayes, became a casualty after the war.

The story of Ira Hayes is well known, but needs to be told again. A Pima Indian, his people had not been treated well by the conquerers. Nonetheless, when the War against Japan started, men were needed for the struggle, and Ira Hayes joined the Marines.

Iwo Jima was a steppingstone to the main island of Japan. After Iwo Jima and Okinawa were in Yankee hands, preparations could be made for the invasion of the main island. However, the stepping stone islands proved to be incredibly tough to secure. There were more American casualties on Iwo Jima than on Normandy Beach on D Day.

On the fourth day of the battle, a picture was made of six marines raising the flag on top of Mount Suribachi. A month of sticky, treacherous fighting was ahead for the fighting men. Of 21,000 Japanese soldiers, 20,000 died. Still, the image is inspiring. The photographer fiercely denied having staged it.

The flag was raised on February 23, 1945. Germany was all but defeated. The “explosive lens” for the atom bomb had been successfully tested. Viewed from the standpoint of 1945, it seems inevitable that the costly island hopping needed to continue, to be followed by an invasion of the Japanese mainland. From the view of 2009, one wonders if the fight for Iwo Jima  was really needed. War is fought in the present tense.

Two of the twelve hands holding the flagpole belonged to Ira Hayes. Ira Hayes did not adjust to peacetime well. He became a drunkard. On January 24, 1955, he passed away.

Ira Hayes was a native American. Thousands of African Americans have returned from foreign wars to be treated poorly. If a man or woman is accused of being gay, the service is forgotten. On this Memorial Day, we should struggle to ensure that all future veterans are treated with respect, all year long.
Thank you Wikipedia for the pictures.

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4 Responses

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  1. Akimel O’odham « Chamblee54 said, on May 12, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    […] Maybe they should ask the English speakers for their papers. The second part of this feature is a repost . One of the best known Pimas was Ira Hayes. He was one of the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo […]

  2. The Ira Hayes Story « Chamblee54 said, on May 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    […] natives should ask the English speakers for their papers. The second part of this feature is a repost. One of the best known Pimas was Ira Hayes. He was one of the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo […]

  3. The Ira Hayes Story | Chamblee54 said, on May 28, 2014 at 6:26 am

    […] natives should ask the English speakers for their papers. The second part of this feature is a repost. One of the best known Pimas was Ira Hayes. He was one of the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo […]

  4. Ira Hayes | Chamblee54 said, on May 18, 2017 at 8:30 am

    […] white man (and black associates) are the uninvited guests. The second part of this feature is a repost. One of the best known Pimas was Ira Hayes. He was one of the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo […]


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