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Headquarters Marine Corps

Reunion of Honor

By Courtesy Story | Headquarters Marine Corps | March 19, 2014

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Kurt Tong, left, retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden, middle, and Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, pay respects at the Reunion of Honor memorial March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. "When I founded the Joint Reunion of Honor in 1995, it was my intention that it was for that year only," said Snowden, the oldest surviving U.S. Marine of the battle. "It was such a success that we have been doing it each year since." Tong is Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy.

Kurt Tong, left, retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden, middle, and Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, pay respects at the Reunion of Honor memorial March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. "When I founded the Joint Reunion of Honor in 1995, it was my intention that it was for that year only," said Snowden, the oldest surviving U.S. Marine of the battle. "It was such a success that we have been doing it each year since." Tong is Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy. (Photo by Cpl. Jose Lujano)


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Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, gives a speech March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. "Whether you came here today from America or Japan," said Amos, "we find similarities in the warriors that that met on this battlefield 69 years ago. The same virtues of honor, discipline and devotion were embodied by all. Their iconic 'Uncommon Valor' became legendary in history books, and created ethos that has transcended generations." (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano/Released)

Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, gives a speech March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. "Whether you came here today from America or Japan," said Amos, "we find similarities in the warriors that that met on this battlefield 69 years ago. The same virtues of honor, discipline and devotion were embodied by all. Their iconic 'Uncommon Valor' became legendary in history books, and created ethos that has transcended generations." (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano/Released) (Photo by Cpl. Jose Lujano)


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Eight U.S. veterans who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima pose for a photo March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. "My hope is that both sides will continue to support and join the annual Joint Reunion of Honor," said retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden, "so that the families of those who served here will have the opportunity to honor their loved ones for their service to their nations and the opportunity to express their continuing love to those who paid the supreme price of giving their lives here." (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano/Released)

Eight U.S. veterans who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima pose for a photo March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. "My hope is that both sides will continue to support and join the annual Joint Reunion of Honor," said retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden, "so that the families of those who served here will have the opportunity to honor their loved ones for their service to their nations and the opportunity to express their continuing love to those who paid the supreme price of giving their lives here." (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano/Released) (Photo by Cpl. Jose Lujano)


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U.S. Army veteran Edward Mervich, left, tells Anne Swenson about his experiences fighting in the Battle of Iwo Jima March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. On the ground where one of the most brutal battles of World War II took place, Japanese and U.S. allies came together to honor and remember the sacrifices of the gallant men who fought for their countries more than 69 years ago.

U.S. Army veteran Edward Mervich, left, tells Anne Swenson about his experiences fighting in the Battle of Iwo Jima March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. On the ground where one of the most brutal battles of World War II took place, Japanese and U.S. allies came together to honor and remember the sacrifices of the gallant men who fought for their countries more than 69 years ago. (Photo by Cpl. Jose Lujano)


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Prior to the opening ceremony, Owen Agenbroad, a Marine veteran and combat message runner during the Battle of Iwo Jima, presents a shadow box to Yoshikau Higuichi March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. The shadow box contained a sharpening stone, Japanese straight-edge razor, razor case, tin cup and identification tags. Agenbroad found these items in a destroyed gun emplacement during the battle and wanted to return them to Higuichi, the son of the fallen Japanese solider they originally belonged to. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano/Released)

Prior to the opening ceremony, Owen Agenbroad, a Marine veteran and combat message runner during the Battle of Iwo Jima, presents a shadow box to Yoshikau Higuichi March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. The shadow box contained a sharpening stone, Japanese straight-edge razor, razor case, tin cup and identification tags. Agenbroad found these items in a destroyed gun emplacement during the battle and wanted to return them to Higuichi, the son of the fallen Japanese solider they originally belonged to. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano/Released) (Photo by Cpl. Jose Lujano)


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Japanese distinguished visitors lay a wreath March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. In addition to honoring the sacrifices of those who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima, the Reunion of Honor symbolized the continuous efforts between Japan and the U.S. in strengthening a relationship dedicated to peace and prosperity, according to Ichiro Aisawa, a member of the House of Representatives of Japan and the president of Parliamentary League for Iwo Jima. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano/Released)

Japanese distinguished visitors lay a wreath March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. In addition to honoring the sacrifices of those who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima, the Reunion of Honor symbolized the continuous efforts between Japan and the U.S. in strengthening a relationship dedicated to peace and prosperity, according to Ichiro Aisawa, a member of the House of Representatives of Japan and the president of Parliamentary League for Iwo Jima. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano/Released) (Photo by Cpl. Jose Lujano)


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Service members with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Central Band and Marines with the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band play together March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. The bands performed both Japanese and U.S. traditional songs, including both countries' national anthems, "Kimigayo" and "Star Spangled Banner." (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano/Released)

Service members with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Central Band and Marines with the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band play together March 19 during the annual Reunion of Honor ceremony. This year's ceremony commemorated the 69th anniversary of the battle on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan. The bands performed both Japanese and U.S. traditional songs, including both countries' national anthems, "Kimigayo" and "Star Spangled Banner." (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano/Released) (Photo by Cpl. Jose Lujano)


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IWO TO, Japan -- The Government of Japan and the U.S. Marine Corps conducted the Reunion of Honor ceremony to commemorate the Battle of Iwo Jima March 19 at Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima.

During the 69th commemoration, Comandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos,  Japanese and U.S. veterans, distinguished visitors, Marines and sailors from III Marine Expeditionary Force and leaders from both nations paid respect to those who fought and those who lost their lives during the battle.

Every year to commemorate the battle of Iwo Jima, the Iwo Jima Association invites veterans of the battle, along with other interested guests, to the battle site on the island. The guests, numbering 500-600, fly in and out on the same day. They disembark the aircraft, are shuttled to the ceremony site, conduct the ceremony, and have time to reflect on their memories on the island. 

Some guests walk the beaches or climb to Mt. Suribachi - where the now famous photo by Joe Rosenthal was taken of the Iwo Jima flag raising. The Marine Corps supports the event with the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band, officials and logistics. 

Japanese veterans of the war also attend the event, along with their guests. The Japanese band and Japanese defense officials took part in the American ceremony. Veterans from both sides reunite and have a chance to share memories. Every year is special because of the Iwo Veterans that are able to make it to the event, which is something that won't be able to continue much longer.


16 Comments


  • Lt. Ouellette 124 days ago
    My maternal Grandfather was a Sgt. with the 25th Marines during WWII. He fought at Iwo Jima and bore witness to the raising of the colors on Mt. Suribachi (both times!). This is an excellent tribute to the memory of our fallen brothers. Oorah!
  • Cpl. Guindon 124 days ago
    Michelle, the Marines will teach you things about yourself that no one else can. Never quit. The first time you quit, it can become a pattern that should not be learned. Semper Fi.
  • jason 124 days ago
    Do not forget your pull us those are a very important part of your physical fitness in the Corp.
  • Susan 124 days ago
    My dad took us to Iwo Jima when I was 15. I got to crawl into the tunnels, walk on the beach and touch that little brass marker at the top of Mt. Suribachi. I was in total awe of our Marines then and am still am today....
  • Irene 124 days ago
    Michelle, I'm the mother of a Marine and I just know you will be a Marine one day. You sound like an amazing young woman. Best of luck and Semper Fi from the proud Mom of a U.S.Marine
  • Chris 124 days ago
    Semper Fi Michelle! Good luck!
  • Sgt Rogers USMC 125 days ago
    Michelle, that's awesome that you aspire to be a Marine! Keep working on the physical conditioning. Focus on pull-ups, core strength and cardio. Our physical fitness test for females (currently) consists of a flexed-arm hang (stay on the bar with arms flexed for as long as you can, up to 70 seconds) or pull-ups (minimum 3, maximum 8), crunches (minimum of 55 in 2 minutes, 100 for maximum score) and a three-mile run (maximum time allowed is 36 minutes, maximum score for 21 minutes or faster). I agree with the SgtMaj, we need more patriotic young Americans.
  • Chris 125 days ago
    That's awesome that you aspire to be a Marine! Keep working on the physical conditioning. Focus on pull-ups, core strength and cardio. Our physical fitness test for females (currently) consists of a flexed-arm hang (stay on the bar with arms flexed for as long as you can, up to 70 seconds) or pull-ups (minimum 3, maximum 8), crunches (minimum of 55 in 2 minutes, 100 for maximum score) and a three-mile run (maximum time allowed is 36 minutes, maximum score for 21 minutes or faster).
  • John Tkachuk 125 days ago
    Memory eternal ~ вечная памчть!
  • chill gavens 125 days ago
    got to be proud
  • Sergeant Major of Marines 125 days ago
    Michelle, you are a good American citizen. Continue to do good in school and our Corps wants patriotic citizens like you. Ctn
  • Sergeant Major of Marines 125 days ago
    Michelle, you are a good American citizen. Continue to do good in school and our Corps wants patriotic citizens like you. Ctn
  • Sergeant Major of Marines 125 days ago
    Michelle, you are a good American citizen. Continue to do good in school and our Corps wants patriotic citizens like you. Ctn
  • Sergeant Major of Marines 125 days ago
    Michelle, you are a good American citizen. Continue to do good in school and our Corps wants patriotic citizens like you. Ctn
  • Sergeant Major of Marines 125 days ago
    Michelle, you are a good American citizen. Continue to do good in school and our Corps wants patriotic citizens like you. Ctn
  • Michelle 125 days ago
    That's awesome that they paid respects to the fallen one day that will be me in uniform right out of high school I am going in the United states Marine corps I cant wait to serve my country. I can do 45 push ups in a minute 50 sit ups I can also run a mile in 9 minutes and 7 seconds

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