Raising the Flag



February 19, 1945

The day of invasion…

Staring at the battleships swarming the harbor of Iwo Jima,

Overcome by fear,

He tries to get her out of his mind – but fails!

Intricate tunnels underground, enable an “element of surprise”

Volcanic ash fills his lungs, making matters worse.

Pictures of her flash through his mind, refusing to dissolve.

His vision obscured,

His defenses weakened,

He refuses to give up.

Flamethrowers shoot death into the air while grenades fly like metal birds –

The atmosphere – a blur of confusion.

He watches as countless lives wither into crimson pools,

Into dust and smoke.

Ghosts advance slowly, risking what the day will eclipse.

His breathing deepens.

His heart pounds through his chest.

The image of her remains,

Not in his mind,

Amidst the confusion of death, and blood, and artillery,

But in his pounding heart,

As he fears not death,

But life without her.

Compelled by this love, he drifts forward with remaining troops,

The sinews of their hearts woven together

To create a force strong enough to vanquish this enemy,

To bring down the Rising Sun,

To watch it set behind the hills of Mt. Suribachi

On February 23, 1945.

He never wanted to let her go.

The tears he cried,

While watching his comrades stab his country’s flag into the soil

Of the mountaintop –

A star-spangled banner,

Standing proud above the sunset –

Were tears of hope,

For the daughter he left behind

On this triumphant day.


1 Comment

  1. Iwo Jima was a battle only the men who survived could describe. I read many books on Iwo Jima. No-one had spoke of the battle. 30,000 died on small piece of land. The poem is powerful. WW2 took a lot of good men. I hope we appreciate the Soldiers and protect our freedoms. Thank you for sharing the poem.

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