Trip of a Lifetime: The Iwo Jima Memorial

It's one of the most iconic images of World War Two, the raising of the American Flag at Iwo Jima.

And it's the symbol used for the Marines Memorial in Washington D.C.

The memorial was one of the stops for 103 World War Two Veterans during Tuesday's Never Forgotten Honor Flight.

Like most people who see it for the first time, the first reaction of World War Two veterans to the Iwo Jima Memorial is about it's size.

"It's immense, you don't realize until you get up close how big it really is," says Fred Schnell.

And just like other tourists, vets take lots of pictures.

As they line up for a group shot, they also get a lesson from the National Honor Flight organizer, a full fledged history buff, on the importance of the victory.

On this trip, memories being created now evoke memories of the past.

Dick Schilt's brother, a Marine gunner on a Navy ship was injured at Iwo Jima.

"He said it was awful, disastrous, death bed for the Marines and it was heartbreaking to be off shore and watch the invasion," says Dick Schilt.

Of course every stop in D.C. has a lot of impact for World War Two vets. This one might hit closer to home because the second person on the statue is John Brandley of Antigo, Wisconsin.

One vet in this group has another reason to feel a special connection to Iwo Jima.

He says if the battle there had not been won, he may not have come back from World War Two.

"I was a B-29 pilot in 30 missions over Japan and on 3 missions my damaged plane would not have made it back to Tinjan. So I had to land there 3 different times, so without Iwo Jima, I wouldn't be here three times," says Art Pejsa.


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