TPWD News Release — Jan. 18, 2005
Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, commander-in-chief of the Pacific fleet, gave his own personal tribute to those who fought there when he said, “Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
Highlights of “A Public Tribute to the Heroes of Iwo Jima” include a memorial service with remarks by Gen. Michael W. Hagee, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and the nation’s highest ranking Marine, and Oliver North, combat-decorated Marine, author and host of War Stories with Oliver North on Fox News. The commemoration also includes a large-scale living history re-enactment of the capture of Mt. Suribachi and the two flag raisings and a heroes’ parade down Main Street. The event is free to all Iwo Jima veterans. Registration deadline is Jan. 31.
“We are extending an invitation to all veterans of Iwo Jima to join us for this special weekend,” said Rear Adm. C. D. Grojean, USN (Ret.), executive director of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation. “Our commemoration falls during Presidents’ Day weekend. We also encourage the sons and daughters of these veterans and the public to take advantage of the holiday to join us in Fredericksburg to honor these heroes of World War II.”
The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of Marines raising the American flag on the summit of Mt. Suribachi during the battle for Iwo Jima has become an enduring image of bravery and heroism that is recognized around the world. The invasion of Iwo Jima, a small island located 660 miles south of Tokyo, occurred from Feb. 19 through most of March 1945. Iwo Jima was strategically important as an air base for fighter escorts supporting long-range bombing missions against mainland Japan. More than 250,000 men and 900 ships were involved in the amphibious operation. So fierce was the battle that more U.S. Marines earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for their service there than in any other battle in American history.
Major events begin Feb. 19, with the heroes’ parade down Main Street. The event will feature Iwo Jima heroes as well as World War II vehicles and equipment and a flyover by World War II aircraft. Special seating is available for registered Iwo Jima veterans who will not be in the parade and their registered guests. The public is invited to view the parade from Main Street.
Also that day, several hundred volunteers led by museum staff, will stage two large-scale reenactments, recreating the fighting around the base of Mt. Suribachi and the two flag raisings. Central Texas terrain in Doss, just 30 minutes from Fredericksburg, will become the famous battlefield complete with Japanese pillboxes and defenses and WWII aircraft and vehicles, including tanks, halftracks, trucks, jeeps and the museum’s working WWII flamethrower. Participants include reenactors from the U.S., Japan, Australia, Korea and Taiwan.
The demonstration, which is open to the public for a nominal entrance fee, will be staged from 2-3:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 and repeated at the same time Feb. 20. Community groups will operate a variety of food and drink booths on-site. On Feb. 19, the living-history demonstration will be dedicated to the heroes of Iwo Jima and special transportation and seating will be provided for Iwo Jima veterans and their registered guests.
On Feb. 20, the public will honor the brave men and women from all branches of the armed forces who fought at Iwo Jima at a special memorial service. Gen. Hagee, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, will be the keynote speaker. The program also will include North and special guest Hershel Williams, one of only three living Medal of Honor recipients from Iwo Jima. The event, which begins at 11 a.m. at Fredericksburg High School, is open to the public for free, with special seating for registered Iwo Jima veterans.
Also included in “A Public Tribute to the Heroes of Iwo Jima” are tours of select attractions in the Texas Hill Country and performances of a USO-type show by the Fredericksburg Theater Company.
The registration fee to attend the commemoration is free for all Iwo Jima veterans and $25 per person for family members and guests. The registration fee includes shuttle service in Fredericksburg to commemoration events, special seating at commemoration events, admission to the living history demonstration, and complimentary admission to the National Museum of the Pacific War throughout the weekend. Major events also are open to the public.
Iwo Jima veterans and their families may register using registration materials available on our Nimitz Museum Web site. Persons wishing to receive a registration packet by mail should phone (800) 210-9440.
Co-sponsors of the event are the City of Fredericksburg, The Houston Endowment, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; and T.R.U.E Research Foundation.
This is the only museum in the world dedicated to telling the entire story of the war in the Pacific during World War II. It is a state historic site managed by TPWD and supported in part by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation.
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