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02-26-07, 06:48 AM
War Hero Remembered
WLEX-TV Lexington

Folks in Flemingsburg took time Sunday to remember the soldiers who fought for our freedom in World War Two's battle of Iwo Jima. They also paid special tribute to Fleming County's most popular war hero, Franklin Sousley.

Survivors of the battle recalled the difficult memories that took place more than 60 years ago. Memories, that Iwo Jima survivor George Marsh says are still vivid. "I have seen the sorriest things man can do to man. Marines with both legs blown off, heads blown off, everything else in between." Said Marsh.

One man, who never made it back to Kentucky, was Franklin Sousley. But his memory lives on like no other. Sousley, was one of five Marines immortalized in the famous photo showing the raising the American flag, atop Mount Suribachi, during the battle of Iwo Jima. A historical moment that recently played out on the big screen, in the movie Flags Of Our Fathers. "I hope the town remembers that he did raise the flag. He was from here, a lot of times he's forgotten about, it's in the background that he was a man from Fleming County." Said J.R. Price, Sousley's nephew.

Following this morning's ceremony at the V.F.W. post, named in honor of Franklin Sousley, a special service was held later at his gravesite. Those in attendance tell LEX-18 News, Sousley and all the troops who fought at Iwo Jima, will forever have a special place in their hearts. "I think it will always be in people's minds. It will never be forgotten." Said Price.


02-26-07, 07:02 AM
Medal of Honor winner shares his story

Feb 25, 2007 06:53 PM

By Janelle MacDonald

(LOUISVILLE) -- The story of serviceman who made it home alive is inspiring hope in many. He's not an Iraq war veteran, but fought instead many years ago in World War II. As WAVE 3's Janelle MacDonald reports, this American hero says his lessons are still important today.

"I have not just nine lives, but 12," said Jack Lucas.

By most measures, Lucas shouldn't be here anymore.

"Cause I had nearly about 200 holes in me, perforated my right lung. I still today just carry six pieced of shrapnel in my right lung," says Lucas.

In February 1945, Private First Class Lucas dove on top of a Japanese grenade in a trench at Iwo Jima. His action saved the lives of three other Marines.

"And I only knew the men just a couple of weeks. But it wasn't important for me to have a great friendship with these men in order to be willing to give my life for them -- because they were Marines and Marines look out for one another," Lucas said.

At the time of his heroic action, Lucas was just 17 years old. He was the youngest Marine in history to get the Medal of Honor. Sunday, this hero of the past came face to face with a hero of the present.

"You understand what he's been through, he understands what you've been through," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein.

Nein is a member of the Kentucky National Guard. Just last week, he was awarded the "Distinguished Service Cross for putting himself in harms way as well -- fighting back Iraqi insurgents during an attack on a U.S. truck convoy.

"They say I'm a hero, but I don't believe that. I'm just a person that did a job, but to know that he went so much farther above and beyond," said Nein.

Now, Jack Lucas hopes by sharing his story in his book "Indestructible," he will inspire everyday heroics all around us.

"With determination and perseverance and courage, you can do just about anything in life that you wish to do. You can overcome obstacles that you think are insurmountable," Lucas said.

In coming home against all odds, Jack Lucas was able to fulfil a promise to his mother -- he finished his education, graduating from Duke University. He had to pick up where he left off at 14, when he forged his mother's signature in order to join the Marines.

Online Reporter: Janelle MacDonald

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway


02-26-07, 07:25 AM
Fans greet Iwo Jima veteran

Medal of Honor recipient wrote the book on heroism

By Melissa Gagliardi
The Courier-Journal

Jack Lucas uses two hands to sign an autograph -- his right hand writes as his left supports and steadies that hand.

Lucas, 79, a retired Marine captain and the youngest Medal of Honor recipient of the 20th century, took time to write sometimes lengthy and often warm wishes in the front of his book as he signed autographs yesterday for more than 100 fans at Jefferson Mall.

His short-sleeved yellow shirt, which he wore with red, white and blue suspenders, exposed a tangle of scars that trace his right arm, but most of his scars were not visible.

When Lucas was 17, he jumped on a live grenade to protect his fellow Marines on Iwo Jima during World War II. He still has shrapnel in his head and lungs, and scars over much of his body are a reminder of the action he saw while still a teenager.

"I guess I was too damn tough to die," he said before describing the various injuries he suffered. When asked how he survived, he responded, "I guess we're gonna have to consult with God."

The book that memorializes his Marine experiences, which began at age 14 after he forged documents to enlist, is titled "Indestructible: The Unforgettable Story of a Marine Hero at the Battle of Iwo Jima."

While the book details his time in the Marines, one must meet the man to get a true idea of his character.

"He is absolutely one of a kind, a gem of a person," said Richard Powers, a National Guard recruiter at Jefferson Mall. "He's got a lot of heart to him."

Powers said the first thing Lucas did when the two met was punch him in the stomach unexpectedly, teasing him about being on guard. So the next time the two met, Powers was ready, and after trading punches, the two became fast friends.

Powers was glad to schedule him for yesterday's book signing -- and the crowd was glad for it.

Retired Air Force Col. Mike Shirley of the South End said that despite 40 years in the Air Force, his meeting with Lucas yesterday was his first encounter with a Medal of Honor winner, in part because the medal often is awarded posthumously.

"It was a great honor," Shirley said.

But Lucas wasn't the only war hero on hand.

Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein, 37, of Henryville, Ind., also signed autographs. Nein received the Distinguished Service Cross for leading his squad in a counterattack during an ambush in Iraq on March 20, 2005. He is the first National Guard soldier to receive the award, the nation's second-highest award for valor.

Nein and Lucas spent hours together over the weekend, enjoying dinner and sharing war stories.

"It's an honor to be in his presence. He was willing to sacrifice himself for his country and willing to literally lay down his life when the time called for it," Nein said. "It's very humbling."

Mike Murphy of the Clifton neighborhood waited in line to buy Lucas' book.

Like Lucas, Murphy's late brother Pete was wounded at Iwo Jima. He said he plans to give the book to his brother's son so he'll have more insight into what his father experienced during the war.

"This book ought to be special to his boy," he said.

02-26-07, 07:26 AM
The New York Giant who died on Iwo Jima <br />
By W. Thomas Smith, Jr <br />
Monday, February 26, 2007 <br />
<br />
We've seen it countless times: The stirring photograph snapped 62-years-ago of five U.S. Marines and one...