It was a powerful and moving occasion outside the Canby Adult Center and in the Ackerman gym Saturday morning as the Canby-Aurora VFW Post 6057 observed the 75th anniversary of the battle and flag raising at Iwo Jima.
It was one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, particularly for the U.S. Marine Corps, which lost almost 7,000 men in 36 days of fierce fighting.
Several surviving veterans of the battle were in attendance, and as is their usual custom, they sprinkled packets of black sand from the island on the rock at the Canby Adult Center that is dedicated to those who fought at Iwo Jima.
The veterans, all of whom are in the mid- to late 90s — or older — were escorted by members of the Lewis & Clark Young Marines, a military-affiliated youth organization open to young men and women age 8 to 18.
The Young Marines wore period-accurate uniforms and helmets and later reenacted the iconic flag raising atop Mount Suribachi — perhaps the most famous photographs in U.S. military history.
The ceremony also featured remarks by VFW 6057 Commander Martin Lackner, chaplains Mike Ladreville and John Morrell, Mayor Brian Hodson, former Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Jim Willis and Marine Staff Sergeant Thomas A. Gatton II.
Raising of the flag was by the 6th Engineer Support Battalion. Taps was played by CHS alumni Danny Hunt and Paul Carlson, who also performed the national anthem.
After the ceremony, a large group that had turned out from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot stayed behind to hear from Robin C. Barrett, a U.S. Marine paratrooper and American hero who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Photos by Tyler Francke: