By Kevin “Coach” Collins
In the summer of 1965 Marine Corps Boot camp training included the boast “If it weren’t for the Marine Corps you’d be speaking Japanese.” It was true then and it is still true today.
Sixty nine years ago waves and waves of eighteen and nineteen year old Marines, waded ashore on Iwo Jima to defeat the Japanese and help win the war in the Pacific on American terms. They fought to keep us from being the slaves of the Japanese and being forced to end up “speaking Japanese.”
By mid- February 1945 Franklin Roosevelt knew Americans were running out of patience and money for the war against a country thousands of miles away and on its last legs anyway.
Some thought we should make peace with the Japanese and cut our losses. The only resource America had left was a Marine Corps largely filled with tough determined teenagers. They were leaders in their communities. They were from big cities and tiny towns. They were a generation of Americans that understood it had to “put aside childish ways” man-up and fight. They were ordinary men who had to face a great challenge and win because they were all America had left.
Today those young Marines are grandfathers and great-grandfathers, but they are still standing up to defend American freedoms. Unlike their foolish grandchildren who voted for Barack Obama the men who hit the beach that day don’t support Obama and never have.
At nineteen they were wiser than most of their grandchildren ever will be. They didn’t act on emotion; they had no time for anything but reality. Their hope and change was hoping to go home alive not whining about how terrible things were.
If you meet a Marine Iwo Jima veteran, greet him with a grateful smile. Because of him and so many others you don’t “speak Japanese.”
Unfortunately Iwo Jima is ancient history to today’s “youth voters,” and we won’t hear much about Iwo Jima today. To the politically correct media it’s also “ ancient history.” There will be a few stories about how small groups of old Marines have gathered to mark the day, but probably not much more. These days the Japanese are one of our largest creditors so we dare not mention their barbarous conduct during World War II.
The 19 year olds of Feb. 19, 1945 that are still with us are all over 88 now but there are fewer of them each year. The passing years have not diminished their achievement one bit.
Time moves on and no one knows this better than Iwo Jima’s nineteen year old men, but they still understand the difference between what is real and what is fake. They know our young people have done damage to America beyond what all of our previous enemies could only dream of doing, but they will stand firm anyway.
Mark this day and celebrate the achievements of those brave men. Today they are still trying to give us a chance to live free. Let each one of us resolve to be worthy of the sacrifices made for us at Iwo Jima. Let us cherish the gift they gave us and continue to give us. And let us always use our freedoms wisely.