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Friday, March 16, 2012

Battle Of Iwo Jima - 67 Year Anniversary

With American veterans and Japanese dignitaries listening to a brass band, the 67th anniversary of Iwo Jima was marked on March 14, 2012 on the island that came to symbolize WWII's most dramatic, if not bloodiest battle.

The anniversary was celebrated with representatives of each nation saluting their respective flag at the base of Mount Suribachi - the iconic site of the five American Marines and one navy corpsman raised the Star Spangled Banner in 1945.

The photo up above, is an American Press photo and is one of the most famous and inspiring images of the war in the Pacific theater.

The bloody battle only began on February 19, 1945 and lasted until March 26, 1945 when Iwo Jima was officially declared secure as 21,570 Japanese and 6,821 Americans died in the fierce battle - nearly the entire Japanese compliment of troops on the isle.

Iwo Jima (in Japan it is known as Ioto jima - Ioto Island) is an uninhabited island about 700 miles south of Tokyo. The U.S. occupied the island until 1968 when it returned to Japan who still maintain a small military outpost.

This memorial, known as the Reunion of Honor, has been held on Iwo Jima since 1985 when American veterans began returning for a 40th anniversary. The memorial has been held every single year except 2011, which was cancelled after the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake.

Every single year, bodies, or rather remains, are found on Iwo Jima. However, as of 2012, there are still some 12,000 Japanese military men and 218 U.S. soldiers who are officially considered MIA (Missing In Action), though a recent search of the island in 2010 discovered a pair of mass graves that it suspects may hold at least 2,000 Japanese bodies.

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph

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