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In memory

February 20, 2015
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

We shall defend this island with all our strength to the end.

We shall take bombs and throw ourselves under the tanks to destroy them.

We shall infiltrate the enemy's lines and exterminate them.

Every one of our shots shall be on target and kill the enemy.

We shall not die until we have killed ten of the enemy.

We shall harass the enemy with guerilla actions until the last of us.

-Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi,

"Courageous Battle Vows," to his command of

22,000 Japanese troops entrenched within

the caves and catacombs of Iwo Jima

Translations vary slightly but the direction of Japanese general Tadamichi Kuribayashi to the soldiers under his command on Iwo Jima 70 years ago this month defined the challenge faced by American troops who fought one of the most horrific and prolonged battles of World War II.

In a crucial fight for control in the Pacific, Marines came ashore the tiny island needed for Allied air support but held by Imperial Japanese Army troops on Feb. 19, 1945.

Some five weeks later, nearly 7,000 American servicemen were dead with another 21,000 injured in combat described as inch by bloody inch against an enemy force that died nearly to the man before Iwo Jima was secured as a key emergency landing stop for American Air Force bombers.

Twenty-seven Medals of Honor were awarded as a result of heroic action on Iwo Jima, five to Navy Seabees and 22 to U.S. Marines - more than a quarter of the Marine Medal of Honor total for all of World War II.

Such sacrifice should not be forgotten.

Cape Coral will mark the 70th anniversary of the raising of the flag over Iwo Jima at 10 a.m. this Saturday at the Veterans Memorial area in Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve.

Iwo Jima survivors have been invited to attend and those present will be recognized by name, unit and/or ship, city officials said in an announcement released this week.

Here in the Cape, this year also marks the 50th anniversary for the U.S. Marine Corp War Memorial replica in the city and Saturday's ceremonies will include the official unveiling of a State of Florida Heritage Historical Marker, the release states.

The monument is a commissioned scale replica of the original statue by sculptor Felix de Weldon, who was inspired by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal's photo of the flag raising on Iwo Jima.

Organizers invite the public to attend.

As do we.

Our thanks to those who served; our everlasting gratitude to those who did not make it home.

There are a number of reasons our World War II vets are referred to as "The Greatest Generation."

The battle of Iwo Jima is among them.

-Breeze editorial



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