James Bradley Radio Essay Transcript and Audio
By James Bradley, author of "Flag of My Fathers"
This morning they had James Bradley, author of "Flag of My Fathers." His father was John Bradley...
James Bradley (Listen to Audio)
Announcer: Boeing presents another in a series of essays from contemporary opinion leaders. Today, historian and author of the book Flags of Our Fathers, James Bradley, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the historic flag raising at Iwo Jima.
Mr. Bradley: My father, John Bradley, was one of the guys who raised the flag on Iwo Jima. But he never talked much about that famous photo.
After my dad died in 1994, my family discovered three cardboard boxes, neatly stacked, deep in a dark closet of his office. A secret collection of memories. A letter caught my eye. It was dated February 26, 1945, three days after the historic Iwo Jima flag raising.
To his folks, twenty-two-year-old John Bradley wrote: "I had something to do with raising the American flag and it was the happiest moment of my life."
I cried when I read those words . . . wondering why my dad had been unable to share that happy moment with me, his son.
So I went on a quest and learned that Iwo Jima stands today as the Marines' toughest battle. And it is America's most heroic moment.
The six boys raising the flag, five plus my father, have become a symbol for all of the Marines at Iwo Jima. And maybe even a symbol for all who serve.
They were boys of common virtue. Called to duty. Brothers and sons. Friends and neighbors. And fathers.
When I was nine years old I told my father that my third grade teacher had announced to my class that my dad was a hero. My father paused for a second and then looked at me seriously, as if he wanted to imbed an idea in my young brain. Then he said, "I want you to always remember . . . that the heroes of Iwo Jima . . . are the guys who didn't come back."
Boeing sponsors radio essays from contemporary authors. (James Bradley).
Enlarged photo of Iwo Jima Memorial Statue. Click here to view.
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