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Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by midnight, May 28, 2005.

  1. >A 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 generals 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 did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a
    >hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.
    > >
    > >We need to remember that God created this vast and glorious world for us
    >to live in, freely, but also at great sacrifice. Let us never forget from
    >the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terrorism and all the wars
    >in-between that sacrifice was made for our freedom. Remember to pray
    >praises for this great country of ours and also pray for those still in
    >murderous unrest around the world. STOP and thank God for being alive and
    >being free at someone else's sacrifice.
    > >
    > >God Bless.
     
  2. catking

    catking Banned

    5,617
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    I'm a little overwhelmed .... Thank You for sharing this . This is why I support our troops no matter where they go or for what reason. I haven't fought a war , so I have no right to tell them they are wrong or right. I just support the men & women who put themselves in harms way ... That's all we can really do... CATKING
     

  3. Thanks for sharing. I'll be sure to get his book it should be a great read!
     
  4. A great thing thing the othet day on the radio. It talked about remembering what this day is really for. And it just sunk in becuase a lot of us see it as a day off from work, or a day we get paid more to work. But it really is about the veterans who didn't make it home. My grandfather seved in the Army in WWII, and he got to come home. Many people who would have been grandfathers didn't. Let's just remember that as this weekend comes and goes.

    Eric
     
  5. my g pop inlisted when he was 13[lied about his age] and chased poncho villa with black jack pershing served in ww1......battle of verdun ...........in ww2 was with the 15th airforce as a intelligence officer.......he told where to drop um he also flew ovrer 50 missions with his boys ......and came back........he is my hero..
     
  6. this is an excerpt, from a letter written to one Maj. Dick Winters from a Sgt Mike Ranney both served with E Co. 506 pir 101st airborne during WWII , it reads
    "my grandson asked me the other day , "grampa were you a hero in the war?"
    and i said no but i served in the company of heros" every time i read this passage from the book band of brothers by Stephen Ambrose i t makes me sad.
    my great uncle Bill jumped with the 82nd on d-day and fought with the 101st all the way to carentan france befor reuniting with the his company thats how screwed up the whole airborne invasion was . my wife grandfather landed on utah beach and fought all the way to the rhine river and into germany and never got a scratch but did get vd he still jokes about it . my stepdads father fought from normandy all the way to the Hurtgen forest and Hurtegen proper was wounded seven times and sent back seven times to the front lines , fought at the bulge and crossed the bridge at remagen seven days after it was captured . no words can describe the amount of respect i have for these men i asked my wifes grandfather how the hell he kept from breaking down and just hiding he said that those boys fought for each other more than fighting for country or cause, not that those things were not important just that you didnt want let your buddies down he said its something only people who have been through it really understand.
     
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