Raising the Flag
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.