The Japanese Geographical Survey Institute has announced that Japan has changed the name of the Pacific Island of Iwo Jima to the original name given by local residents, Iwo To.
It doesn't matter the official name of this small speck in the Pacific, the men who fought and died there have hallowed its memory for all time. This piece of land 4.5 miles long and 2.5 wide at its widest will always be known to Americans as Iwo Jima.
In the battle for this island that took place in February and March of 1945, 100,000 American troops fought 22,000 Japanese. The Japanese were ordered to hold the island as long as possible so the homeland could build its defences against the expected invasion.
Official records show the Americans suffered 27,909 casualties including 6,825 killed. The battle for this piece of land amounted to 30 percent among the landing forces, no less than 75 percent in the infantry units of the Fourth and Fifth Marine divisions, 4,900 killed on the island, and 1,900 missing or deceased later from wounds. There were 19,200 wounded American survivors and only God knows how many who fought there suffered continuing mental anguish for the rest of their lives.
Admiral Chest W. Nimitz said: "Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
Name it what you will, this small island itself, this piece of earth, is not what we hold dear. It is the actions of this nation's best, the ones who fought there, who died there, their families and the memory of what they sacrificed for us that we treasure. That is and will always be Iwo Jima.
All gave some
Some gave All
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