The Battle

As we cook our steaks and enjoy our family gathering together this weekend let us not forget to take a moment and remember the men and women who gave their all that we might have the freedom to celebrate a holiday weekend.

For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave. Psalm 86:13

The Battle

On March 26, 1945 Marine Sgt. Horace Avery listened as the Jewish Chaplain read this verse to about 35 men of the Marine 3rdDivision.  On the eight miles of ash called Iwo Jima between February 19 and March 26, 1945 6,825 marines and sailors were killed, our causalities were 25,851.

There were 22,060 Japanese on the island and 21,844 of them died. Horace had survived and this verse forever became a part of his life as it stuck in his soul like a sharp sword and in December of 1945 when he came home to treatment in an American hospital that verse still burned in his soul. For the next 41 years he shared his story of the love of God and the protection he received from the landing on February 19 until victory on March 26.  Iwo Jima had charged a high price for its eight miles of ash, but he had been spared the depths of the grave.

My father’s brother, Shelby, took part in that battle as a member of the crew of a Navy LST that carried troop in for the landing. He had pictures of ships on each side of him blown out of the water which he had made with his small brownie camera.

Twenty two Marines and Five Navy men received the Medal of Honor during this battle the largest number for any single battle in our nation’s history.

This was our first invasion of the Japanese homeland and as you can see by the number of only 116 living out of the 22,060 what it would have cost if we had been required to make a main island invasion of Japan.

Many have wondered if the island was worth the high price in lives it cost, I suppose no one can really answer that question but it helps to know that before the end of the war more than 2,400 B 29 aircraft made emergency landings on the island and their 27,000 crewmen all survived. Difficult to measure the price of one life beside another so let us give thanks to our Lord for those who did survive and gratitude and praise for those who made the greatest sacrifice.

Ivan

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Published in: on May 19, 2015 at 11:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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