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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Kline Record: Iwo Jima

Kline's only other floor activity in March, 2005 was a speech honoring the soldiers who fought at Iwo Jima, which I reproduce here without further comment.

Madam Speaker, today we recognize the contributions of the United States Marine Corps, an organization which I was proud to serve for 25 years in active duty. We also honor every member of the United States Armed Forces on this the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Sixty years ago, U.S. Marines invaded the small Pacific island of Iwo Jima. Most Americans associate this event with the powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning image of the Marines raising a flag above Mount Suribachi. What many Americans may not realize, however, is that the emblematic photo, which has become a symbol of American bravery and victory, does not capture the first flag-raising at Iwo Jima that day.

Two different groups of heroes planted American flags at Iwo Jima on Mount Suribachi on that day in February of 1945, and the achievement of both groups provided and continues to provide inspiration to defenders of freedom everywhere.

The sole survivor from either flag-raising group is Minnesota's own Charles Lindberg. On that seminal day in February, Corporal Lindberg and five fellow Marines reached the base of Mount Suribachi after several days of fighting and thousands of casualties. The next morning the battalion commander, Colonel Chandler Johnson, sent them to the summit with an American flag and orders, "If you get to the top, raise it."

And raise it they did. The flag raised by Corporal Lindberg and his fellow Marines provided an immediately recognizable image of victory and became an inspiration to all who saw it. In describing the reaction to their flag raising, Corporal Lindberg states, "Boy, then the island came alive down below. The troops started to cheer, the ships' whistles went off. It was quite a proud moment."

Perhaps sensing the significance of the moment, a commander below ordered a second group to raise a larger, more stable flag in its place. Four hours after the first flag-raising, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal captured the image of the second flag-raising, which is now recognized throughout the world. The second raising and the photograph which captured it complemented the efforts of Corporal Lindberg and his fellow Marines and enabled Americans at home, as well as the world, to share the same symbol of bravery and victory with the victorious Americans on Iwo Jima.

Both of these groups deserve our gratitude, as do all the men and women who served on Iwo Jima and elsewhere during World War II. The symbol of the flag over Iwo Jima reflects the enduring triumph of freedom and democracy, the very things for which our men and women in uniform continue to fight today.

We have much to learn from the tenacity and dedication of the brave heroes of World War II, and I am grateful for this opportunity to recognize their efforts today.

And to you, Corporal Charles Lindberg, from one Marine to another, I salute you from the floor of the House of Representatives in admiration and gratitude for your courage, bravery, and valor. Semper Fi.

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