6 boys and a flag

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by FS Driver, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. FS Driver

    FS Driver New Member

    another email cant find it in snopes and dont really care to
    i liked the read and hope you enjoy it too

    Tale of Six Boys

    Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade class
    from Clinton, WI. where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy
    visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some special memories
    back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.

    On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial This
    memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the
    most famous photographs in history -- that of the six brave soldiers raising
    the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima,
    Japan, during WW II.

    Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed
    towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue,
    and as I got closer he asked, "Where are you guys from?"

    I told him that we were from Wisconsin "Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come
    gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story."

    (James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the
    memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his
    dad, who has since passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the
    buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his
    permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour
    the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C., but it is
    quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.)

    When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his
    words that night.)

    "My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that
    statue, and I just wrote a book called "Flags of Our Fathers" which is #5 on
    the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story of the six
    boys you see behind me.

    "Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is
    Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the
    Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off
    to play another type of game A game called "War." But it didn't turn out to
    be a game .

    Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say
    that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front
    of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that
    most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old.

    (He pointed to the statue) "You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from
    New Hampshire If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was
    taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a
    photograph... a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for
    protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. Boys won the battle of
    Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

    "The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank.
    Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the "old
    man" because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his
    boys in training camp, he didn't say, 'Let's go kill some Japanese' or 'Let's
    die for our country.' He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would
    say, 'You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers.'

    "The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from
    Arizona. Ira Hayes walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my
    dad. President Truman told him, 'You're a hero.' He told reporters, 'How can
    I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27
    of us walked off alive?' So you take your class at school, 250 of you
    spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250
    of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was
    Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes died dead drunk,
    face down at the age of 32 .. ten years after this picture was taken.

    "The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop,
    Kentucky. A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told
    me, 'Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General
    Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down.
    Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night. Yes, he was a
    fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When
    the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop
    General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The
    neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. The neighbors
    lived a quarter of a mile away.

    "The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John
    Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994,
    but he would never give interviews When Walter Cronkite's producers, or the
    New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say, 'No, I'm
    sorry, sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone
    there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back.' My dad never fished or
    even went to Canada. Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating
    his Campbell's soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He
    didn't want to talk to the press.

    "You see, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are
    heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He
    was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he
    probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died in Iwo Jima,
    they writhed and screamed in pain.

    "When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a
    hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, 'I
    want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did
    not come back. Did NOT come back.'"

    "So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and
    three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in
    the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out,
    so I will end here. Thank you for your time."

    Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag
    sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt
    words of a son who had a father who was indeed a hero regardless of his

    So many don't even know about Iwo Jima, where it is, what it is, and why
    there is a memorial to those common and unhearalded men (most of whom were
    teenagers) who fought and died there....to honor not only them, but all who
    fought and died for us in the Pacific war.

    REMINDER: Everyday that you can wake up free, it's going to be a great day.

    Great story - worth your time. Please pass it along..
  2. SSG Johnson

    SSG Johnson New Member

    Saint Robert Missouri
    DRC as always a great post.

  3. Fatkat

    Fatkat New Member

    Blanchester, Ohio
    Great post Darryl, I enjoyed reading it.
  4. MRR

    MRR New Member

    thank You,thank You for That Post.i Learned Something Today. I Knew About Ira Hayes But Not Aboutthe Other Five Boys. That Is A Story Worth Rereading And Passing On. Thanks For Sharing.
  5. dreamer34

    dreamer34 New Member

    danville virginia
    thank you for making that post..lets keep our servicemen and women in our prayers
  6. teaysvalleyguy

    teaysvalleyguy New Member

    GC, OHIO
    Great post Darryl, I enjoyed reading it.
  7. Gator

    Gator New Member

    Ludowici GA
    DRC as always a great post. Very touching thanks so much.
  8. catfishkatmando

    catfishkatmando New Member

    Salem, WV.
    Always appreciate your post. Was posting on athread by you yesterday where dinkbuster got swolled up and then could notfind the thread any more.
    Being a patriot is a hard job these days reminding people that the hard line is what keeps this country free.Congres trying to figure how to slap ilegal aliens wrist without leaving a red mark, crossng boarders in any other contrey is a very serious crime and even posiabley and act of war , the left side of our goverment is more concerned on how to allow these illegals to vote. I gues they figure if they mess thing up enough that what they got to offer wil look good.

  9. Ol Man

    Ol Man New Member

  10. copycat

    copycat New Member

    New Jersey
    Thank you for telling the story! It makes me speechless, sad and proud!
  11. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Because of ALL of the people like this.I feel and believe the way I do.My life is very precious to me as I am fighting a losing battle for it every day.The lives of my family AND the lives of each and every one of you,what ever your beliefs,are far more precious than my life.This is what I learned from them.Much of it personally from many of them.Family,friends,neighbors and my leaders in the Navy,and the greatest honor of all.One night a child asked a man on the beach at the head of the Naples pier "are you the bravest man in the world"? She had been told that he was. His reply was "No,there were and are a lot of people braver than me".He even said the name of one.We were told he was,and he sure looked like the pictures of the most highly decorated man in the history of our armed forces.We were also told that he had flew in with some people for a poker game.I was one of those kids,looking at a hero.I remember him looking so small and so young.I had never seen a veteran that looked so young.Mr.Murphy was a hero and movie star,yet just a nice person who had time for kids on a beach.Not one of these people ever taught me that I owed them.They did not do it for them.They did it for us.They taught me that I owed YOU,as you the people are our country.peewee-williams
  12. Phil Washburn

    Phil Washburn New Member

    Shawnee OK
    good stuff, DRC - thanks
  13. SilverCross

    SilverCross New Member

    Fairbury, Illin
    Good post, DRC, made a little fog here. My uncle was one of the survivors there and was a total alcoholic almost all of his life. He also didn't like to talk about what happened over there. He was the only one out of his whole platoon that made it, just about drove him crazy.
  14. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Now there's a story worth telling.