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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • 'Uncommon valor': Vets, residents pay respect to Iwo Jima 'legends'

  • Lt. Col. Mitchell Hoines recalled a well-known quote among the U.S. Marine Corps on Friday morning at Leavenworth National Cemetery.
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  • Lt. Col. Mitchell Hoines recalled a well-known quote among the U.S. Marine Corps on Friday morning at Leavenworth National Cemetery.
    "We all know this quote, Marines do," said Hoines, Marine element deputy director at Fort Leavenworth's Command and General Staff College. "Admiral Chester Nimitz said of the fighting men on Iwo Jima: 'Uncommon valor was a common virtue.'
    "Think of that. Everybody had valor. Every Marine knows that quote."
    His words came during the 69th Annual Iwo Jima memorial ceremony at the National Cemetery's monument site.
    Jerry Ingram, one of three Iwo Jima veterans in attendance Friday morning, is the president of Chapter 36 of the Fourth Marine Division Association of World War II.
    He opened Friday's service with poignant remarks.
    The ceremony, he said, was to "honor those who have given their lives and have today spent time fighting the foes of freedom."
    "God bless all of those here today and all of those who have come before us, and we especially honor our Marine brothers who gave the supreme sacrifice at Iwo Jima, so we can still live in the land of the brave and the home of the free," Ingram said.
    "Our children's children were free and the fighters from today keep it so their children's children may be free. God bless you for being here and God bless America."
    The event included participation from Freedom Riders, veterans, the Iwo Jima survivors and Marine Corps color guards.
    Vocalist Valarie Thompson, of the First Baptist Raytown Choir, sang the National Anthem.
    Flowers were also laid by many at the monument site.
    But, it was Hoines who delivered the keynote remarks, including a recitation of the Marines' Hymn:
    "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country's battles in the air, on land and sea," he said. "First to fight for right and freedom, and to keep our honor clean, we are proud to claim the title of United States Marine."
    Hoines lauded U.S. forces who cleared the Japanese island "inch by bloody inch, though victory was never in question."
    "Today we celebrate a great victory, a hard fought victory, we celebrate the living and the dead," he said. "… We celebrate those who have gone before us and those who are here today. God bless them.
    "Those of us who have lived through combat often feel guilty for surviving when others did not. We must not dwell on who lived and who died, but we must remember who fought and why they fought and the great deeds they did. We remember those great deeds and those great victories and even the terrible losses."
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