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Six Brave Soldiers-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor The originator of the
email says he was on a trip to Washington DC.
At the Iwo Jima memorial, he ran into the son of one of the men who
is in the famous picture of six men raising the American flag on Iwo
Jima, a Japanese controlled island in the Pacific that was the scene
of bloody fighting during World War II.
It has also been reprinted in several books including Chicken
Soup for the Grandparent's Soul.
It was originally titled The Boys of Iwo Jima.
The title has been changed by people who have forwarded it
around the Internet and who have also eliminated the author's name
and added the last paragraph, which was not in the original.
A new version of the story started circulating in 2007 that added a
P.S., which Michael Powers also said was not a part of the original
story and he did not know where it came from. It said "One
thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is
not mentioned here is that if you look at the statue very closely and
count the number of "hands" raising the flag, there are 13. When the man
who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th
hand was the hand of God."
Also, the references to the men in the original story was "six
brave men," not "six brave soldiers," but none of
them would properly be called a soldier, which refers to those who
serve in the Army. Five of them were Marines and one was a
Last updated on 7/7/05
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
Six Brave Soldiers
Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade
from Clinton, Wisconsin, where I grew up, to videotape their trip.
greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some
special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially
On the last night of our trip we stopped at the Iwo Jima Memorial.
memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of
most famous photographs in history - that of the six brave soldiers
the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima,
Japan, during WW II. Over one hundred students and
chaperones piled off
the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary
the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, "Where are
from?" I told him that we were from Wisconsin. "Hey, I'm
a cheesehead, too!
Come gather around Cheeseheads, and I will tell you a story."
(James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the
memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good
his dad, who has since passed away. He was just about to leave
when he saw
the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and
permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one
thing to tour
the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C., but it
quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.
had gathered around he reverently began to speak. Here are his words
"My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin. My
dad is on
statue, and I just wrote a book called "Flags of Our Fathers",
which is #5
on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story
six boys you see behind me. Six boys raised the flag.
The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block.
Harlon was an
all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with
senior members of his football team. They were off to play another
game. A game called "War." But it didn't turn out
to be a game. Harlon,
at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't
to gross you out, I say that because there are generals who stand in
of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to
most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old.
(He pointed to the statue) You see this next guy? That's
New Hampshire. If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this
taken, and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a
--- a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for
because he was scared. He was 18 years old. Boys won the battle of
Jima. Boys. Not old men.
The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike
Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called
"old man" because he was so old. He was already
24. When Mike would
motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, "Let's go kill
Japanese," or "Let's die for our country." He knew
talking to little boys. Instead he would say, "You do what I
say, and I'll
get you home to your mothers."
The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from
Arizona. Ira Hayes walked
off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad.
President Truman told him, "You're a hero." He told
reporters, "How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit
the island with me, and only 27 of us walked off alive?" So
you take your class at school. 250 of you spending a year together
having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the
beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive.
That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira
dead drunk, face down at the age of 32 ...
ten years after this picture was taken.
The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley
from Hilltop Kentucky. A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best
friend, who is now 70, told me, "Yeah, you know, we took two cows
up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire
across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epsom
salts. Those cows crapped all night." Yes he was a fun-lovin'
hillbilly boy.. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19.
When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to
the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to
his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night
and into the morning. The neighbors lived a quarter of a mile
The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue is my dad, John
from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until
1994, but he
would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite's producers, or
the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say,
"No, I'm sorry sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada
fishing. No, there is no phone here, sir. No, we don't know
when he is coming back."
My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually, he was
right at the table eating his Campbell's soup. But we had to tell
that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the
press. You see, my
dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are
'cause they are in a photo and a monument. My dad knew
better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a
caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they
died. And when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in
When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was
hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and
said, "I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima
are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back."
So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo
three came back as national heroes. Overall 7000 boys died on Iwo
the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is
out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time."
Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag
sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the
words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe
hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero
We need to remember that God created this vast and glorious world for us
to live in, freely, but also at great sacrifice. Let us never
forget from the
Revolutionary War to the Gulf War and all the wars in-between that
sacrifice was made for our freedom. Remember to pray praises for
this great country of ours and also pray for those still in murderous
unrest around the world..
STOP, and thank God for being alive for someone else's sacrifice.
2 For 1
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