Iwo Jima veteran makes it his mission to share story
By PAT KINNEY, firstname.lastname@example.org
WATERLOO --- David Greene chokes up easily these days.
If you'd done what he's done, been where he's been, seen what he's seen, you might be the same way.
He's been on an incredible journey --- a trip back to the Pacific island of Iwo Jima where he fought as a young Marine 67 years ago in one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.
As he stood atop Mount Suribachi, where an iconic flag raising took place during the battle, and looked down on the beach where he and his comrades fought, and many of them died, he remembered the words of his surviving platoon mates back home.
"They told me when I got there, say some prayers for them," Greene said, naming departed brothers in arms.
There were once 35 of them; then just six were left. After he returned, one more of them died.
"That's the state of things when you get to be 87 years old," he said.
In March, Greene was invited to return to Iwo Jima and see Pacific battleground islands of Guam, Saipan and Tinian, with a handful of fellow World War II veterans and students from Ohio State University, courtesy of the Greatest Generations Foundation, a Colorado-based organization sponsoring veteran trips to World War II battlefields.
Being there was emotional enough. Getting there was almost overwhelming. When he talks about it, that's when he chokes up and the tears come.
That's because of the hero's reception he and his fellow veterans received:
Uniformed Marines escorted them through airports.
A caravan of red, white and blue-clad motorcyclists rode alongside them from a hotel to Los Angeles International Airport.
Hundreds greeted and cheered them at the airport terminal.
"This adulation isn't for me. It's for them," he said of departed comrades. "There's a lot of 'why me;' why did I live this long? Why wasn't I killed?"
It's why he made it his personal mission, perhaps his ultimate mission, to tell the story of Iwo Jima, again and again. Since his return, he's given numerous presentations to classes, to service clubs, to group of seniors and fellow veterans accompanied by their children and grandchildren.
"The younger, the better," Greene said. "I have never been so busy in my life, talking to school kids, service clubs, private groups."
He'll do it again three more times Saturday at the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum. Accompanying and assisting him will be the Ohio State student who shadowed him at Iwo Jima, Caitlin Bentley, an aspiring history teacher whose father and stepmother teach and administrate at Loras College in Dubuque.
"It will be one unbelievable experience for one 'old Marine' and hopefully for so many others," he said.
Read More: http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/iwo-jima-veteran-makes-it-his-mission-to-share-story/article_0f2f7467-fc2a-5368-9599-ee1e3ed69b97.html#ixzz1xtNoH6F4
- Latest News
- Archived News