In this week’s Flashback Friday, we’re taking you back to the first honor flight from South Dakota that allowed dozens of veterans to see the memorials in their honor.
It’s one of the most recognized images of World War II. The raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima. To some, it’s a historical picture. To others, it’s another statue in our nation’s capital.
But for a few of these soldiers along on honor flight, this is more than just a memorial, it was part of history packed full of memories.
“Thank you sweetheart, you don’t mind me calling you sweetheart do you? No that’s fine.”
Fred Lassle of Sioux Falls was a medic on a battleship off the island coast, but was close enough to see the five Marines and one Navy corpsman raise the flag atop Mount Suribachi.
“We were right below there where we could see everything,” Lassle said.
Claude Hone was a Marine fighter pilot. His job was to fly over Iwo Jima and shoot as many Japanese soldiers as possible to clear a path for America’s fighting Marines.
“The Japanese hated the fly boys because we were in and out and if they ever captured the fly boys they wouldn’t let them live, they behead them,” Hone said.
At the Iwo Jima memorial in Washington, D.C. both Hone and Lassle feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, but also a sense of loss.
“We lost a lot of our friends in those days and I’m one of the lucky ones who is still there,” Hone said.
Today the 78 foot high memorial stands as a testament to the bravery, honor and sacrifice of the United States Marine Corps.
Coming up on Monday, Angela Kennecke will catch up with one of the veterans you just saw in that story. We’ll show you how both active duty military members and fellow veterans are helping Claude Hone in his time of need. That’s coming up Monday on Eye on KELOLAND at ten.