The Lions of Iwo Jima and other Heroic Suspense

Dear Subscriber:

Guess what? It’s symbolic time again. Anniversary of the flag raising on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, February 23, 1945. My pops was floating around as a torpedoman first class under the waves in that Pacific Ocean (not so “passive” in those days). I was born on the next day, a year later, so thank goodness he survived, or I wouldn’t be here today. Lots of folks probably say that.

Meanwhile, these six cats (three of them died) raised the “new kids on the block flag” to show we could use this island as an assault gateway to stop the war against folks who would literally “fight or die” in the name of their country (that’s called “nationalism” to the patriotic folks). You see, there were top brass who ordered them to do this, and when you’re in the military of any country, you do what you’re ordered to do. “Raise that fucking flag, Marines!” And they got a selfie!

Not to be outdone, they ordered a second raising of the flag to get better shots and to fix the fact that three guys had to die (for real) in the first press photo. Fred Haynes wrote a great book about the conquest of Iwo called The Lions of Iwo Jima.

My good friend, Bonnie Haynes, later wife of one of these courageous marines, who happened to be the general in charge of the 28th Marines who were preparing for the land invasion of Japan later (until President Truman ordered the “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” bombs dropped,) which caused these fanatical and courageous Japanese fighters to surrender. Otherwise, most likely, even more civilians would have been burnt to a crisp like marshmallows over a campfire in Nagasaki.

This guy, General Haynes, Bonnie’s beau, not only defended his men in this campaign, but he went to another one in Korea (remember that guy in the North and the Chinese fanatics?), in Vietnam, and he was there when all the Marines got wasted by a suicide bomber (remember them?) in Beirut in 1983. That was where he met Bonnie, a news reporter for CBS.

So, Major-General Haynes took this shit seriously, as did my father, who worked with submarines and the associated weaponry for over 30 years also.

I only did eight years of service (3 active), but I enlisted and wasn’t drafted. But today I’m not too patriotic anymore. In fact, I am more of a passive-aggressive type like Dr. M. L. King, Jr. and that guy Gandhi. Whatever. Those in charge will still play their games for real, and when they do, these guys take it seriously. So remember them, when you get a free moment from your busy day.

Scary times. Three huge countries (China, USA, and Russia) with tons of weaponry, each pretending to be the “good guy,” but they are all officially backed by increasingly dogmatic and inflexible regimes based on greed and power.
Even before World War Two, there were no countries with the ability to destroy the planet as powerfully and as quickly (especially if you figure in the destruction of the environment) as these three countries can destroy it today.

Most warriors protect each other, as they will attest, because they are mostly young and vibrant, filled with love of family, home, and all the stuff we often take for granted. They also love the freedoms that mean something, and not just for greed.

Flag at Iwo Jima

Ironically, I saved this iconic photo in the folder of my 2022 Income Taxes! Most corporations pay less taxes than retired folks, vets, teachers, and other working folks do today. Perhaps “just plain folks” deserve some credit sometimes too, instead of all the money going who the fuck knows where?

Carry on with your day, and thanks for the reads.

James Musgrave

San Diego, CA

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