Sunday, April 21, 2013

Remembering those that gave their all at Iwo Jima

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So...I am a little back logged on some blog posts...I apologize for this.  I have been working on a new library, seeking a new job, and studying to secure my Mortgage Loan Originator license so I can actually earn an income.  Let's get caught up, shall we?

Mayor's of small towns like Canby are asked to attend many community events each season.  I do wish I could make them all, there are just so many evenings and weekends.  Plus I need and want my family time as well.  One event that was an honor to be a part of, held back in February, was the Iwo Jima Remembrance Ceremony and recognition of our WWII Veterans.  It was an incredibly moving ceremony with young Marines, our local Color Guard from the Legion, and 3 local WWII Veterans (two of which were at the Battle of Iwo Jima) to name a few.  The Canby Adult Center was filled with Veterans, families, and loved ones.  City Councilors Traci Hensley, Tim Dale, Ken Rider, and Clint Coleman were also in attendance.

The history of this battle is extensive and this island in the Pacific was crucial to our success in the Pacific Theater.  So many men and women were lost in this battle that was supposed to last only 3 days. This event holds meaning for me because both of my Grandfathers were in WWII - one in the South Pacific as a Navy Man, the other in the Army.  Below are a few pictures of the event and my welcome speech.

Local Young Marines from ROTC

Spreading Iwo Jima sand

Color Guard preparing the Stars and Stripes

My welcome speech:

     Good morning and thank you Irene for the wonderful introduction and for this yearly event that is so important to our veterans and our community.

     I would also like to thank the Canby Aurora Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6057, their auxiliary and their fellow veterans and service organizations.

     Welcome all you to the 18th annual ceremony of our World War two Memorial as we replace the flags and re-dedicate this memorial in remembrance of those that have served.

     While preparing for this welcome I gave myself a little refresher history lesson on the battle of Iwo Jima.  Moving past the numbers like: 26,000 wounded or killed Americans; 22,000 Japanese soldiers lying in wait; 120 bomber planes showering the island night after night; 10,000 gallons a day of fuel used for flame throwers; the pictures and videos.  Moving past phrases like “pillboxes” and the “meat grinder” two things grab me.

     First is history, the second is courage.

     History is important.  As a grandson of a World War II Army cook on one side and a Navy welder on the other, history is important.   Harold Hodson, a hard working father of two, passed away before it dawned on me that “I should ask”.  James Vlach is 95 and a great man. Every visit home to Ohio I try to draw out more about World War II, being on the Midway Aircraft Carrier in the South Pacific, his first car and seeing the Benny Goodman big-band with my grandma.  Some topics come easier than others. “I should ask”.

     Second is courage.  Our servicemen and women have a courage and a devotion to God and country that can be complicated to explain.  I admire that courage of my grandfathers and Uncles to enlist, the courage of all our veterans, and the courage of all our young people to protect and defend our country and our freedoms.

     History must be revisited to understand the courage it took to take a 5 mile long island or a beach in Normandy.  “I must ask” to hear the history from those that lived through it.  “I must ask” you, our veterans, to please share your stories with those that are close to you.  This history is so very important to remember.
For many of us this kind of service to God and country takes a level of courage we may never realize, yet we want to know and remember what it takes to keep our nation strong. 

Thank you to the veterans and enlisted men and women for your service, your protection and your courage.

God bless you, your families, and our great country. 

Thank you.

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