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          1 min read

          Honor our Veterans - Teach Your Children

          Reflections
          I started this day like most others - coffee and newspaper. I make a point to read the editorial pages, mostly to keep in touch with what others are thinking, but often out of curiosity to discover knowledge gaps that should not exist.

          Today's editorial page contained the usual local drivel. But one caught my attention. It was from a school bus driver describing his morning route collecting high school students. The driver wore a cap embroidered with "Iwo Jima 1945 - Semper Fi."

          A student boarded the bus and bothered to ask what the words meant. That's right, a high school student that had no idea the importance of Iwo Jima or the Latin phrase. After the last stop before heading to the school, the driver asked all the students on the bus if they knew of Iwo Jima. None did. So much for high school history classes.

          Iwo Jima
          Iwo Jima is a small island, southeast of the Japanese mainland that played a pivotal role for the United States to defeat the Japanese forces during World War II.

          Capturing Iwo Jima from the Japanese Imperial Army was strategically important. The capture would eliminate the Japanese ability to intercept US aircraft. And Iwo Jima would give the United States airfields to support escort fighters and refuel bombers en route to Japan's mainland and ultimate US victory over Japan.

          The battle involved 70,000 US Marines. More than 19,000 were wounded and nearly 7,000 did not return - one of the deadliest battles for the Marines. All but a handful of the 22,000 Japanese perished on that island. Despite the heavy Japanese loses, Iwo Jima is the only battle where the US total casualties exceeded the Japanese.

          The bronze memorial was created by sculptor, Felix DeWeldon, based on the Joe Rosenthal Pulitzer Prize winning photo taken on Iwo Jima in 1945 that depicts six Marines raising the US flag at the top of Mount Suribachi.

          Read James Bradley's description of the Marines depicted in the memorial, including his father John Bradley. Only three of the six returned from Iwo Jima.

          Semper Fi
          This is an abbreviation of Semper Fidelis, a Latin phrase meaning "always faithful." The phrase is well known (or certainly should be well known) in the United States as the motto of the US Marine Corps. The motto was adopted in 1883 as the reminder that Marines remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what.

          How did you spend your Memorial Day?
          Please honor our veterans and teach your children the importance of the sacrifices they made for all of us.

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