Flags of Our Fathers

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by Mirandzies
Last updated 8 years ago

Social Studies
World War II

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Flags of Our Fathers

The "heroes"

Name: Mianda Johns Due Date: 3/28/2014

Franklin Sousley was born Sept. 19, 1925 in Hilltop, KY, and he died March 21, 1945 Iwo Jima, Japan. Franklin was a red-haired, freckle-faced “Opie Taylor” raised on a tobacco farm. Franklin was the last flag-raiser to die on Iwo Jima, on March 21 at the age of 19.

Rene Gagnon, was born in Manchester, N.H. on March 7, 1925, and died in Manchester, N.H. on October 12, 1979. Rene Gagnon was the youngest survivor and the man who carried the flag up Mt. Suribachi. He was the first survivor to arrive back in the US.

All war is hell, they say. But the battle over Iwo Jima in February 1945 thrust its combatants into the deepest circle of Satan's Inferno.I chose Clint Eastwood's film, "Flags of our Fathers" in order to further my knowledge of the battle of Iwo Jima. For more than a month, on a tiny sulfurous island in the middle of the Pacific, 70,000 Marines threw themselves at 20,000 Japanese defenders. The latter were not so much on the island as inside it, entrenched in a honeycomb of fortified tunnels and well-hidden, man-made caves. Day after day, the Marines struggled to advance while receiving devastating fire by invisible enemies. When it was all over 36 days later, the Marines had suffered 26,000 casualties.. The movie is based on the book by James Bradley, son of one of the flag-raisers (Doc) and it explores the battle, the famous photo and the poignant aftermathof the survivng flag raisers.

This is the most impactful scene in the movie, it shows the surviving flag raisors (Doc, Ira, Rene) remenising about their fallen buddies (Hank, Iggy, and Harlon) while raising a celebratory flag during the bond drive. I apologize for the cursing and poor quality of the clip.

The Flags: story behind the picture taken at the battle of Iwo Jima


FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS: story of the six Iwo Jima flag raisors

So What?

Mike Strank was born in 1919 in Jarabenia, Czechoslovakia. He died in 1945 in Iwo Jima, Japan. Their leader and Sergeant, it was Mike who got the order to climb Mt. Suribachi. It was Mike who gave the orders to find a pole, attach the flag and “put’er up!”

Harlon Block was born in 1924 in Yorktown, Texas. He passed away in 1945 in Iwo Jima, Japan. Harlon was Sgt. Mike’s second-in-command. He took over the leadership of his unit when Sgt. Mike was killed. When his mother Belle saw the Flag Raising Photo in the Weslaco Newspaper on Feb. 25, she exclaimed, “That’s Harlon” pointing to the figure on the far right. But the US Government mis-identified the figure as Harry Hansen of Boston. Belle never wavered in her belief that it was Harlon insisting, “I know my boy.”

Ira Hayes was born January 12, 1923 in Sacaton, Arizona, and died January 24, 1955 in Bapchule, Arizona of alcohol abuse. Ira Hayes was a Pima Indian. When he enlisted in the Marine Corps, he had hardly ever been off the Reservation. His Chief told him to be an “Honorable Warrior” and bring honor upon his family. Ira was a dedicated Marine. Quiet and steady, he was admired by his fellow Marines who fought alongside him in three Pacific battles.When Ira learned that President Roosevelt wanted him and the other survivors to come back to the US to raise money on the 7th Bond Tour, he was horrified.To Ira, the heroes of Iwo Jima, those deserving honor, were his “good buddies” who died there. The Bond Tour was an ordeal for Ira. He couldn’t understand or accept the adulation . . . “It was supposed to be soft duty, but I couldn’t takeit. Everywhere we went people shoved drinks in our hands and said ‘You’re a Hero!’ We knew we hadn’t done that much but you couldn’t tell them that.”

John "Doc" Bradleywas born July 10, 1923 in Antigo, WI, and passed away January 11, 1994 in Antigo, WI. “Doc” Bradley was a Navy Corpsman who “just jumped in to lend a hand.” He won the Navy Cross for heroism and was wounded in both legs. Bradley, a quiet, private man, gave just one interview in his life. In it he said . . . “People refer to us as heroes–I personally don’t look at it that way. I just think that I happened to be at a certain place at a certain time and anybody on that island could have been in there–and we certainly weren’t heroes–and I speak for the rest of them as well. That’s the way they thought of themselves also.”

The first "go around" I did not enjoy this movie because of the rapid changes in scenary and various flashbacks. But after veiwing the film a second time, the research really made the characters and their stories come alive for me. As far as I could tell from my research this movie was spot on when in comes to historical accuracy. The easiest part of the project would have to be the veiwing of the movie, I mean who doesn't like "watching a movie" to be their homework assignment? The research was the most difficult part because of the various topics in which to research, BUT it helped me to appreciate the characters and their stories on a much deeper level. I learned alot from this project such as I did not know Iwo Jima was an underground fort, or that the second flag was only risen on the 5th day of the battle. In conclusion I enjoyed this project and learning more about the many brave soldiers invovled in the bloody battle at Iwo Jima.


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