This story touched me deeply as I was a boy 15 years old when World War II ended with millions of boys dead. The impact was the driving force that led me to volunteer to enlist in the US Navy two later at 17 after graduating from high school. It is a shame we do not have mandatory basic military training for every boy and girl American, foreign students and illegals. They either make a man or a woman out of every child or designate them as a future problem. They also can pinpoint those who are ready for higher education or provide the others for the trades. Many will remain in the military as a career.
The Navy prepared me well for my future and made a man out of this boy professionally. I served during the Korean war but never faced combat. I am proud to be a veteran. My wife, Norma, had one Uncle killed on Iwo Jima and another Uncle lost both legs. Both were also just boys. I am posting this on my blog and hope my family keeps posting this again and again long after I my lifetime is over. My thanks to my friend Peter Forrest who shared this great story with me. Clyde Brewer
This read is long but worth the time. If you read it before it’s pretty good to read again. ( I have read it five times. CB)
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 Capital, 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.’
(It Was James Bradley who 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 had 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, DC, 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 Wrote a book called ‘Flags of Our Fathers’. 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 – and it was so hard that the Ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about It.
(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. It was just boys who 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 mothers.’
‘The Last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona . Ira Hayes was one of them who Lived to walk 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 carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, 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. Those 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, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn’t see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, ’cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver. On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died on Iwo Jima , they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the 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.
One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is . . that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of ‘hands’ raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the13th hand was the hand of God.
Great story – worth your time – worth every American’s time. Please pass it on. ANON
Watching all of the violence on the news in between, prior to and after two horrible hurricanes gave me time to deeply evaluate some of my own life. It is hard to believe I have watched this great country go from rags to riches then slowly chart a course to self destruction in my 87 years. Sadly I have family that is so focused on socializing America it would not surprise me if I saw some of my own grandchildren on TV involved in useless demonstrations and property destruction before I croak. I really hope not.
When I entered adulthood, at 16 in my case, few high school graduates had any opportunity to attend college. I was certain there was nothing anyone could teach me as I knew everything. I have written before that one of the smartest decisions I ever made was enlisting in the US Navy at 17. Looking back I was better prepared for my trip through life than most of my classmates who were later drafted and served in the Korean war. If every American boy and girl were required to serve after high school or reaching the age of 18 in a federal program things would be different. The program would last only ninety days and be designed to transition and prepare them for adult life. This would result in America not having the insurrection we see today.
Unfortunately this will never happen as the leadership in America has slowly disappeared. Today we have leaders that survive with power instead of wisdom. Watching the leadership of the Republican party since the last election has been sickening. We now have a born successful leader willing to give up a life of luxury to try to save the country from itself. Sadly he has been abandoned by his own Republican party in accomplishing needed change by people who have elevated their status to elite untouchables.
I really hope I live to see Donald Trump introduce these bureaucratic has beens to unemployment with term limits that they believe the people will not support. If the people want America to return to prosperity they will throw these power sick millionaires out of Congress and soon.
Nothing President Trump has done so far has made Congress happy. The media bias and outright hate have caused most of the insurrection to date. Our Federal Courts have been stuffed with so many Socialists Judges we are having a stand off only the people can settle. Lifetime appointments for these “elites” has created chaos that must eventually be stopped. The Supreme Court is a perfect example of bias as simple things are decided by political reasons rather than the laws in force. Again the people have the power. The current President is challenged for trying to implement the changes he promised when we elected him. I pray that we the people stand behind the first leader we have elected since Ronald Reagan or Socialism will be alive again to doom our Republic.
I want to close this limited walk through life by giving you advice whether you are 16 or 60. Regardless of your desires, expectations, wishes or prayers your destiny was programmed to end your life cycle the day you are born. You only have one trip so please enjoy every year you have by being happy. Watching these young Americans and aliens destroy property, inflict injury on innocent others makes me want to throw up. Free speech is the cornerstone requirement for freedom regardless of any reason. These riots remind me of the youth in Germany that were the tool used by Hitler to brainwash an entire country to self destruction.
How do you feel about the future? I wish enough people would comment on this article to let me share your feelings with others in another article. I will continue to share my conservative position as long as I draw a breath before the fat lady sings. I may not have many people read my work but the ones who do have my promise to keep trying to help make a difference.
C Brewer 9-15-17
My friend and often guest writer, Ron Jenkins, sent me the following history lesson and challenge. I have altered it to fit how my own grandfather, father and how I fit the basic outline. I did make some minor changes and I deeply admire the unknown author. This may have been around for some time but it is the first time it came my way.
This hit me as a wake up call for Americans to stop, think, revue what is happening and please help Trump make America great again. When you add up the Americans who died or were maimed defending our freedoms over the last 100 years it is staggering. Thanks Ron and everyone please share this with every American they know who might help. C Brewer
WHAT A MESSAGE!
My Grandfather watched as his friends died in WWI and WWII.
My Father watched as his friends died in WWI, WWII and Korea.
I watched as my friends fought and died in WWII.
I served in the US Navy and watched as my friends died in Korea.
I watched as our friends died in Vietnam, I also watched my brother who served two tours and died at 55 because of the way the military was treated by other Americans when they came home.
I watched as our friends and their children both fought & died in Desert Storm.
I watched & waited while our friends & children fought and died in Iraq.
None of them fought for or died for the Mexican Flag or any other foreign flag.
Everyone fought for and died for the US flag.
In Texas, a student raised a Mexican flag on a school flag pole; another student took it down.
Guess who was expelled… The kid who took it down!!!
Kids in high school in California were sent home on Cinco de Mayo because they wore T-shirts with the American flag printed on them.
Enough is enough!!!
The message below needs to be viewed by every American;
And every American needs to stand up for America!!!
We’ve bent over to appease the America-haters long enough.
I’m taking a stand, will you?
I’m standing up because the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in wars for this country, and for the U.S. Flag who can’t stand up.
And shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message.
Let me make this perfectly clear!!!
FELLOW AMERICANS THIS IS OUR COUNTRY!!!
And, my making these statements DOES NOT Mean I’m against immigration!!!
WE WELCOME NEWCOMERS TO OUR COUNTRY, IF THEY COME LEGALLY!
To come through legally, THEY MUST:
AMERICANS STOP giving away YOUR RIGHTS ???
We’ve gone so far the other way.
We’ve bent over backwards not to offend anyone…
But it seems no one cares about the AMERICAN CITIZEN being offended!!!
WAKE UP AMERICANS ANON
My great friend, Dr. Peter Forrest sent me the following article. This brought back memories only a veteran could possibly understand. This took me back to the day I asked my parents to allow me to join the Navy Reserve at 17 in 1947. Just think, how many American boys have died serving in the military, especially when this boy decided to give it a try so soon after WWII was over shortly after I was 15. I have never shared all of this with anyone.
My friend Don Dukes sent me this open letter that covers the way this old veteran and I feel sure most veterans of all colors agree with. Unfortunately we have so many veteran groups that our collective voice is seldom heard. It is a shame we suffer this organizational scatter and have one huge organization to represent our issues. I will write about this self-inflicted weakness separately and not dilute the attention away from this plea to wake up al real Americans to unite and stop our own government from dividing us into hate groups by stirring up minorities and aliens.
My being exactly what he has described as himself he has covered my feelings adequately. Read this plea for Americans to unite. I challenge you to make a list of what you disagree with and I will publish your comments unedited. C Brewer
I am the Democratic-Republican-Liberal-Progressive’s Worst Nightmare. I am a White, Conservative, Tax-Paying American, Gun Owning Veteran That’s me!
I believe in the freedom of religion, but I don’t push it on others.
I believe in American products and buy them whenever I can.
I believe the money I make belongs to me and not some liberal governmental functionary, Democrat or Republican, that wants to share it with others who don’t work!
I’m in touch with my feelings and I like it that way!
I think owning a gun doesn’t make you a killer; it makes you a smart American.
I think being a minority does not make you noble or victimized, and does not entitle you to anything. Get over it!
I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac or any other item, you should do it in English.
I believe there should be no other language option for business.
I believe everyone has a right to pray to his or her God when and where they want to.
I don’t hate the rich. I don’t pity the poor.
I know wrestling is fake and I don’t waste my time watching or arguing about it.
I’ve never owned a slave, nor was I a slave. I haven’t burned any witches, and neither have you!
I believe if you don’t like the way things are here, go back to where you came from and change your own country! This is AMERICA …We like it the way it is and more so the way it was …so stop trying to change it to look like Russia or China, or some other socialist country!
If you were born here and don’t like it… you are free to move to any Socialist country that will have you. I believe it is time to really clean house, starting with the White House, the seat of our biggest problems.
I want to know which church is it, exactly, where the Reverend Jesse Jackson preaches, where he gets his money, and why he is always part of the problem and not the solution. Can I get an AMEN on that one? Same with Reverend Al Sharpton.
I also think the cops have the right to pull you over if you’re breaking the law, regardless of what race or color you are.
And, no, I don’t mind having my face shown on my driver’s license, nor the necessity of showing my identification, to conduct normal business or especially to vote. I think those policies are more than prudent.
I think if you are too stupid to know how a ballot works, I don’t want you deciding who should be running the most powerful nation in the world for the next four years.
I dislike those people standing in the intersections trying to sell me stuff or trying to guilt me into making donations’ to their cause….Get a job and do your part to support yourself and your family!
I believe that it doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes a man and woman.
I believe ‘illegal’ is illegal no matter what the lawyers, or progressive Democrats think!
I want to return this country to the values it was founded on, and prospered under for over 200 years! My Country…I hope this offends all illegal aliens.
Hypothetically, my great, great, great, great grandfather watched and bled as his friends died in the Revolution and the War of 1812.
My great, great, great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Mexican American War.
My great, great grandfather watched as his friends and brothers died in the Civil War.
My great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Spanish-American War.
My grandfather watched as his friends died in WW I.
My father watched as his friends died in WW II and the Korean War.
I watched as my friends died in Vietnam, Panama and Desert Storm.
My son watched and bled as his friends died in Afghanistan and Iraq.
None of them died for the Mexican Flag.
Every one of them died for the American flag, and liberty.
Texas high school students raised a Mexican flag on a school flag pole, other students took it down. Guess who was expelled…the students who took it down.
California high school students were sent home on Cinco de Mayo because they wore T-shirts with the American flag printed on them.
Enough is enough!
This message needs to be viewed by every American; and every American needs to stand up for America.
We’ve bent over to appease the America-haters long enough.
I’m taking a stand.
I’m standing up because of the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in wars, preserving liberty and freedom both, here and in other besieged nations, for the American flag, and all she stands for…
If you agree, stand up with me.
And shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message.
AMERICANS, stop giving away Your RIGHTS! Let me make this clear! THIS IS MY COUNTRY!
This statement DOES NOT mean I’m against immigration! YOU ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY, welcome to come legally, as did my grandparents:
If you don’t want to SHARE this for fear of offending someone, then YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM! We’ve gone so far the other way . . . bent over backwards not to offend anyone.
WAKE UP America!!!
I MISS MY COUNTRY! God Bless America
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
As George Orwell put it, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
If anyone know who wrote this please let me know so I can give him credit. Anyone who disagrees with his message is a racist and is not an American and never will be. C Brewer
As a boy I witnessed far too many young Americans die defending my freedom during WW II.
I served in the US Navy and had many classmates wounded and killed in Korea.
I watched as my brother served and many good friends died in Vietnam.
No American ever served in the military or gave their life to protect the Mexican Flag.
Recently here in Texas , a student raised a Mexican flag on a school flag pole; another student took it down.
Guess who was punished? The student who took it down.
School children in California were sent home this year on Cinco de Mayo because they wore T-shirts with the American flag printed on them.
Have you had enough? Read the following, then do something.
Every American needs to stand up for America. We’ve bent over to appease the America-haters long enough…
I’m taking a stand, will you?
I’m proudly standing up because the hundreds of thousands who lost legs or died fighting in wars for this country, can’t stand up.
Shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message…
Let me make this perfectly clear!
THIS IS MY COUNTRY!
Because I make this statement “DOES NOT” mean I’m against immigration!
I WELCOME ALL FREEDOM LOVING PEOPLE, IF.
They just follow the rules and the laws to come here legally.
1. Get a sponsor!
2. Pay for a place to live!
3. Get a job!
4. Live by the Rules!
5. Pay YOUR Taxes!
6. Learn to speak English.
7. Don’t demand that we hand over our lifetime savings to provide you with welfare.
IF YOU DISAGREE LIKE THE MORONS IN CONGRESS YOU’RE ALSO PART OF THE PROBLEM! WE DID NOT INVITE OR DRAG THESE PEOPLE OR THEIR CHILDREN HERE.