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  • A Tale of Six Boys

    >>> Great story - worth your time. Please pass it along.


    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 people 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 mother s.'
    >>>
    >>> "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, because 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 You and God Bless America.
    >>>
    >>> REMINDER: Everyday that you can wake up free, it's going to be a great
    >>> day.
    >>>

  • #2
    Interesting sig OB...I'm probably two of 300 million that don't care what people think! "LOVE THAT SIG"


    The most meaningful personal story that's been relayed to me in years, not only James Bradley's...but your own.

    It's a dear reminder to those who complain and crab with the flow of a fashionable idea. It's a dear reminder to someone like me who has always had military men in my family and throughout our family history put their lives on the lines for their family, friends, and fellow countrymen in the face of complaints, moving on knowing what they were doing as soldiers was much more to offer to people they loved and the country they loved than simply another opinion. Soldiers in war do not associate with 'lip service'. They associate with people whom they could share a fox hole with and people who would 'watch their backs' in any situation.

    This was a heartfelt story, and one we know is not tainted with rumor or ill-will, but from the heart and true. Thank you very much, OB420. I knew there were reasons I got along with you so well...... this was beautiful.

    Abraham Lincoln once said during the Civil War, and I quote:

    "There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one.
    There is involved in this struggle the question whether your children
    and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed.
    "




    Source: August 22, 1864 - Speech to the One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment

    CP's when they are replenished OB.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    John Stuart Mill (Look him up )

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow that was a great post. I think that when Tom Brokaw (not sure of the spelling) called them the great generation I would have to agree. Not to anything away from the kids that fight for us today, but that generation was something else. Maybe more than any other generation before or since, they understood the sacrifice that they were making.

      Anyway, thanks 420 that was a fantastic read.
      John 11: 25-27

      My Adopt-A-Bronco is D.J. Williams



      Thanks Snk16

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TXBRONC
        Wow that was a great post. I think that when Tom Brokaw (not sure of the spelling) called them the great generation I would have to agree. Not to anything away from the kids that fight for us today, but that generation was something else. Maybe more than any other generation before or since, they understood the sacrifice that they were making.

        Anyway, thanks 420 that was a fantastic read.
        I know what you mean TXBRONC!

        Yet, we still have a voluntary military today, so maybe it hasn't changed as much as we think it might have????
        "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

        John Stuart Mill (Look him up )

        Comment


        • #5
          Wonderful Story!

          As a few may know, this particular thread strikes a chord with me! Thank you for posting it!

          Its awesome that these children got such great insight to the monument!
          Snk16!!
          VulcanGLF2

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Broncaholic7
            Wonderful Story!

            As a few may know, this particular thread strikes a chord with me! Thank you for posting it!

            Its awesome that these children got such great insight to the monument!
            I don't know the story of yours B7....care to share it?
            "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

            John Stuart Mill (Look him up )

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by His Wife
              I don't know the story of yours B7....care to share it?
              Just that I have had a Family member in pretty much every War...My father has deployed to 3 and is now going back for his 4th and final run! (Thank Goodness)

              Each of the man that have fought in my Family were pretty much the same way as the gentleman in this story.

              Kind of reclusive and not willing to bask in any kind of glory...Even in the face of temptation and money.

              They always credited the glory to the men that were lost...not the ones that returned! I have heard several stories like this one from my Great Granfather (not directly), from both my Grandfathers and now my Father.
              Its just kinda nice that a random patron with such a personal insight would share it.
              I also like that there is so much support going around now for the men and women that have served, are still serving and those we have lost to maintain our freedom as Americans!
              Snk16!!
              VulcanGLF2

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Broncaholic7
                Just that I have had a Family member in pretty much every War...My father has deployed to 3 and is now going back for his 4th and final run! (Thank Goodness)

                Each of the man that have fought in my Family were pretty much the same way as the gentleman in this story.

                Kind of reclusive and not willing to bask in any kind of glory...Even in the face of temptation and money.

                They always credited the glory to the men that were lost...not the ones that returned! I have heard several stories like this one from my Great Granfather (not directly), from both my Grandfathers and now my Father.
                Its just kinda nice that a random patron with such a personal insight would share it.
                I also like that there is so much support going around now for the men and women that have served, are still serving and those we have lost to maintain our freedom as Americans!
                I knew that---smack me! Hard to keep it all straight sometimes B7! Yes, I remember you speaking of your father and how hard that would be for you and your mumsy (nickname for mom). My grandfather was in WWII, father in Korean, uncle who is a Lt Col in airforce---who loves to talk about it. My father is very quiet about his time as a marine and his time spent in Korea and N.China (where the soldiers witnessed many public executions). Brother was in army-but never during war. My husband in Ntl Guards---but not in war. Uncle in the Navy, during Vietnam war.

                I'm completely with you on feeling good when we see support for our guys, especially on a personal level, like OB's story here. I feel like I missed out not being able to meet Mr Bradley. I think he could tell me stories all evening and I'd be all ears.

                Thanks! I knew that, just forgot, my apologies!

                Bless your dad, B7, and may he stay safe.
                Last edited by His Wife; 10-30-2006, 05:09 PM.
                "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

                John Stuart Mill (Look him up )

                Comment


                • #9
                  Nice post thanks.

                  Comment

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