It is probably the most duplicated photograph of World War II and in American history, the picture of six United States Marines raising the flag of their country on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. Of the six only three made a return journey off the island, and the lives of those three were forever changed by what they had experienced in a fight for freedom. In the days following the death of John “Doc” Bradley, one of the three, his son James found a few boxes stored in the family home that were filled with information that “Doc” had never shared with him. In those boxes the family found information that linked him to that famous photograph and to the lives of the other five men. But more amazingly it revealed the hidden heroic life of “Doc” and his being awarded the Navy Cross.
It was the discovery of the items from John “Doc” Bradley’s life that led his son James on a journey to unveil the story behind the photograph and in doing so he uncovers events and lives of United States Marines that should never be forgotten. These six young men became the face of American pride and for the three that survived what they experienced on that island haunted them the rest of their lives
Intriguing about Flags of Our Fathers is that we see from a son’s point of view the actions of a father and how the son’s discovery radically changed his own view of the United States invasion of Japan.
It is stories like we find in Flags of Our Fathers that should continue to be told because they remind us of the sacrifice so many made so that we continue to enjoy the freedoms of living in this great country.