Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Commonwealth to commemorate Battle of Iwo Jima this coming March

By Marconi Calindas

The CNMI will commemorate once again one of the most memorable military campaigns in the Pacific, the Battle of Iwo Jima, as it honors at least four World War II veterans and their families in a ceremony on March 8.

Military Veterans Affairs Office director Ruth Coleman said the ceremony would welcome back at least four of the soldiers that fought on the island and will give honor to them for fighting for peace and freedom. She said the ceremony would be held at the American Memorial Park Court of Honor.

Coleman is inviting the public to come and honor the veterans as well as remember the Battle of Iwo Jima. The event is also in cooperation with the Pacific Development, Inc. and the Marianas Visitors Authority.

She said the World War II veterans of the Marianas and Iwo Jima campaigns would be visiting Saipan before traveling to Iwo Jima. Certificates and medallions will be presented to the war heroes.

“It's been 63 years since the battle,” she added.

Coleman will be leading the war veterans to Iwo Jima the following day. The ceremony will be held to honor these World War II veterans who have been hailed as “The Greatest Generation” and were part of over 16 million servicemen and women who served during World War II.

According to the website dedicated to the Iwo Jima battle, the island was Japanese home soil, part of Japan, only 650 miles from Tokyo. During World War II, it was administered by the Tokyo metropolitan government. To the U.S., Iwo Jima's importance lay in its location, midway between Japan and American bomber bases in the Northern Marianas.

The ferocious battle for control of Iwo Jima on D-Day, February 19, 1945, was waged between 21,000 Japanese soldiers and 110,000 Marines in 880 ships. The U.S. sent more Marines to Iwo Jima than to any other battle.