U.S. Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima is one of the most memorable images of World War II.
A man who lives in Bloomsburg remembers that day as if it were yesterday. John Paul was in the United States Navy and served on a ship anchored off the island.
“That was one of the iconic things of WWII. Today they talk about being weary. You think we weren’t weary back then?” asked Paul.
On the 67th anniversary of the flag being raised on Iwo Jima, Newswatch 16 sat down with Paul.
He said two American flags were raised on February 23, 1945, the first one at 10:20 a.m. and a bigger one at noon. Paul recalls spending the day ferrying men and supplies from his ship to Iwo Jima. He said at the time he didn’t know why they made more than one trip.
“What we were really doing, now it all comes out, was trying to draw enemy fire from the squad that was trying to get up to put the flag up,” said Paul.
He has his original ship log from World War II. It details everything they did day in and day out. You can see he has February 23, and while they didn’t know exactly what was going on at the time, they started to unload the cargo and retract from the beach.
“If you’ve been there and done that you understand it, but if not, you can’t comprehend it,” said Paul.
The National World War II Museum in New Orleans says just over 10 percent of World War II veterans are still alive.
Paul is part of a group called the Susquehanna Valley World War II veterans that meets each month near Bloomsburg to talk and reminisce.