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On the 67th Anniversary of the flag raising over Iwo Jima, Henderson Hall Marines stand at attention during the wreath laying ceremony in remembrance of the Marines who gave their lives for our country Feb. 23, 2012. The Commanding Officer of H&S Bn, HQMC, Henderson Hall, Col. Ira M. Cheatham lays the wreath at the foot of the Marine Corps War Memorial and Sergeant Maj. Joseph M. Davenport III, James P. Donovan, Cpl. USMC (Ret.), Founder, President and Executive Director of the Marine Corps War Memorial Foundation, Steve Cominsky, Director MCWMF and Michael Kessler, Lt. Col. USMC (Ret.) also participated in the ceremony. (USMC photo by Sophia Piellusch, DoD

Photo by Sophia E. Piellusch

67th anniversary flag raising over Iwo Jima: honoring our fallen Marines

23 Feb 2012 | Sophia E. Piellusch

The American flag waved high over the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. Feb. 23, as one did in 1945 on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Many gathered at the memorial to honor those killed in battle 67 years ago with a wreath-laying ceremony. The ceremony is not only for the Marines who fought and died at Iwo Jima, but for all those who have died since 1775, said James Donovan, Marine Corps War Memorial Foundation founder and president.It was two gunnery sergeants from Headquarters and Service Battalion and myself, said Donovan. The ceremony is powerful in its simplicity. He added, We said a prayer and placed the wreath.The wreath-laying is an opportunity for past and present Marines and civilians to reflect and honor the servicemembers who lost their lives in the line of duty, said Col. Ira M. Cheatham, Commander of the H&S Bn., Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall. They should be remembered for fighting for our country with courage and dignity, he said. Sixty-seven years ago this week, on Iwo Jima, which translates to Sulfur Island, the Marines and Navy paid a high price in heavy casualties to capture the island. According to the Navy History Library, the 36-day assault resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead. Of the 20,000 Japanese defenders, only 1,083 survived. The Marines efforts, however, provided a vital link in the U.S. chain of bomber bases. The island became strategically important as an air base for fighter escorts supporting long-range bombing missions against mainland Japan. Iwo Jima provided an emergency landing strip for U.S. aircraft returning from bombing runs. The battle of Iwo Jima embodies the Marine Corps core values of honor, courage and commitment, said Cheatham. The image of the Marines raising the flag is the most widely recognized and significant to the Marine Corps. The Battle of Iwo Jima is one of many battles, but one that certainly defines what is a Marine.

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