Let’s go back and remember a moment from World War II. Over in Europe, Germany was about to collapse. Over in the Pacific, the horrific battle of Iwo Jima was going on years ago this week:
“On this day, during the battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, the highest point on the island of Iwo Jima and a key strategic point. Later, Marine commanders decide to raise a second, larger flag, an event which an Associated Press photographer captured on film. The resulting photograph became a defining image of the war.
The amphibious landings of Marines, after severe and relentless bombing of the island, began the morning of February 19, 1945, as the secretary of the navy, James Forrestal, accompanied by journalists, surveyed the scene from a command ship offshore.
As the Marines made their way onto the island, seven Japanese battalions opened fire on the 9,000 Marines headed for them.
By that evening, more than 550 Marines were dead and more than 1,800 were wounded.”
Taking the island of Iwo Jima was essential to the Pacific strategy. The island became an important post for future B-29 bombing missions against the Japanese mainland.