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The Reilly Family Welcome Veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima

Seventy five years ago Crissy’s Uncle “jack” Thurman landed on Iwo Jima and was dispatched to help secure the airfield at the base of mount Suribachi. As an 18 year old marine fighting for the airfield, “I looked over my right shoulder, and I saw a flag going up, it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw in my life.”

Iconic photo of the raising of the American flag shortly following the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Last Wednesday the Iwo Jima Association of America had its 75th anniversary reunion at the Hyatt in Arlington. Crissy, Bridget, Conor and I went to welcome and greet the veterans as they arrived for their reunion. We especially wanted to surprise uncle Jack but his flight was delayed in Colorado. It was great fun talking with the veterans and they appreciated all the volunteers efforts. I can’t remember so many people so happy.


Here is another picture taken by Pulitzer prize winning photographer Rosenthal, “Gung Ho”. Jack is standing on the far left with his helmet high above him. That is Ira Hayes directly below Jack , whom had also been in the first more famous photo. Jack’s rifle skills(having grown up on a farm in south Dakota)pushed him up to the top of Mt. Suribachi where he provide sniper cover for his fellow marines. Within a few days of the original flag raising, one of the soldiers in the 28th regiment invited jack into the group shot. “I said, ‘well I’m in the 27th regiment’, “that makes no difference, you’re one of us.”, and up he went. Jack turned 19 as the battle raged for close to forty days. The sands of Iwo Jima.


Here are Crissy, Bridget and Conor with uncle jack at the ceremony before the Banquet last Saturday. Jack was just starting to tell some story’s about Crissy’s dad when we were ushered out.


Uncle Jack is sitting next to the Commandant of the Marine corps, General David Berger. Take notice the medal of honor and purple heart on the marine to the Commandants right.


Here is a picture of most of the survivors of Iwo Jima who made it to the Reunion.

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