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American Hero IRA HAMILITON HAYES, a Pima Indian born to the Colorado River Community in Sacaton, Arizona was celebrated for the 69th time in 2014 for his role in World War II where he fought the Japanese for the Island of Iwo Jima. Hayes and other soldiers fought to take the islands summit and once there with four other soldiers they raised a battleship’s flag big enough for everyone on the island to see. The photo of that flag-raising by Joe Rosenthal has become symbolic of American Fighting Spirit and each year for 69 years Indian Tribes from all over the United States have sent color guards to Arizona to participate in this warrior gathering where they celebrate this warriors life and honor all warriors before and since.


Tim Murphy and William Radebaugh dressed out in the WW II battle gear Ira Hayes would have worn fighting on the island of Iwo Jima, to serve as a honor guard for Ira Hayes statue which was the magnet for all attending the parade. Many wanted to be photographed with the hero! in honor of Hayes and all vets including those from World War II, a disappearing generation, but Oliver Babbitt an Iwo Jima survivor walked the entire parade with a hip native American escort. Color guards from all over the United States poured into Sacaton Saturday some like the San Carlos Apache drove in that morning, others held up at the Ak-Chin Casino but several thousand participants funneled into Sacaton, lining up for the parade and after the flyovers, for two hours paraded through the streets of Sacaton for several hundred participants.IRA HAMILTON HAYES-4698 The B-17 flying fortress, the “Sentimental Journey” performed four fly-overs for the parade, followed by six biplanes flying in formation and trailing smoke in their wake. Vietnam vet David Vigil communed with the statue of Ira Hayes, towering over the life size 5’6″ likeness, calling him a “hero” for his service, noting a hero is a soldier who did a good job. Still the streets of Sacaton filled with people of all walks of life, ages and ways of life, everyone a patriot, everyone rejoiced in their warriors. The Arizona Patriot Guard Motorcycle Unit contrasted by numerous ROTC drill teams.IRA HAMILTON HAYES-4784Following the parade that perhaps had 5000 participants from reservations, Legion Posts, color guards from all over Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Colorado, to name a few. Pat Rice from Chandler noted seldom will reservation culture single out one individual and hold him up — so for Ira Hayes to get a send off like this every year, it’s amazing he said. With the U.S. now in a time of peace Rice wondered if the next generation will lose the reality for war and hopes events like this will keep the reality alive. At the end of the parade all the visiting color guards, ROTC and ceremonial units came together for a “massing of colors”.


Tohono Oodham Royalty Malaya Antone, 21, left and her court Tohono Oodham Royalty Malaya Antone, 21, left with her court[/caption]

The battle for Iwo Jima was particularly bloody, being the only battle in which the U.S. Marine Corps suffered more casualties than the Japanese Army. The Japanese were well entrenched on the island when the U.S. decided to invade. Iwo Jima’s, a mountainous island proved extremely difficult for U.S. troops. However, Iwo Jima proved of extreme tactical importance to the U.S. policy of island hopping to the Japanese mainland. For this, the military command decided that the 26,000 American casualties was worth the island.



Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It shows five United States Marines and a United States Navy corpsman raising an American flag atop Mount Suribachi, a 546-foot dormant volcanic cone situated on the southern tip of the island during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The photograph was extremely popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and came to be regarded in the United States as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time. Joe Rosenthal, an Associated Press photographer, is the man behind the photo. The raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, 69 years ago, is perhaps the most iconic image of World War II. No other picture so succinctly and evocatively captures the triumph of the Allied forces, while also highlighting the critical role that U.S. troops played in the Pacific. The picture has become an enduring symbol of the steadfastness and strength of the Marine Corps.

The annual parade is the efforts of the IRA HAYES AMERICAN LEGION

IRA HAMILTON HAYES-4885Three Marines depicted in the Associated Press photograph, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, and Michael Strank, were killed in action over the next few days. The three surviving flag-raisers were Marines Rene Gagnon and Ira Hayes, and sailor John Bradley, who became celebrities after their identifications in the photograph. The image by Joesph Rosenthal later inspired Marine Felix de Weldon to sculpt the 1954 Marine Corps War Memorial, located next to Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C. 170px-3c-Iwo_Jima The Iwo Jima flag-raising has been depicted in other films including 1949’s Sands of Iwo Jima (in which the three surviving flag raisers make a cameo appearance at the end of the film) and 1961’s The Outsider, a biography of Ira Hayes starring Tony Curtis, the new book “Flag of our Fathers” inspired Clint Eastwood’s movie. In 1961, Ira Hayes’s life story was the subject of the movie, The Outsider. The movie inspired songwriter Peter La Farge to write the The Ballad of Ira Hayes, which became popular nationwide in 1964 by singer Johnny Cash. Hayes was portrayed by actor Adam Beach in the World War II movie Flags of Our Fathers in 2006. In July 1945, the United States Postal Service released a postage stamp bearing the image. The act of raising the flag captured by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal became the photo on the biggest-selling American postage stamp of all time.

The five Marines together with Navy corpsman John “Doc” Bradley raised the second American flag and flagstaff. Bradley from 3rd Platoon, was part of the original 40-man patrol that climbed up Mount Suribachi. Hayes fought on the island until the battle was over on March 26. Killed and wounded losses were heavy, he was one of five Marines remaining from his platoon of forty-five including corpsmen. IWO JIMA FLAG RAISINGThe raising of the second American flag on Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945 was immortalized by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal and became an icon of the world war. Overnight, Hayes and the other second flag raisers became national heroes except for Harlon Block who was misidentified for several months as Sgt. Henry Hansen from 3rd Platoon.

When he enlisted in the Marine Corps, IRA HAYES had hardly ever been off the Reservation. His ambition was for him to be an “Honorable Warrior” and bring honor upon his family. A Dept of Defense website Ira Hayes is called a dedicated Marine. “Quiet and steady, he was admired by his fellow Marines who fought alongside him in three Pacific battles. Ira Hayes was a noted World War ll hero. Although he had a normal childhood on his reservation, his life changed dramatically when war broke out and he joined the Marine Corps. After he completed courses under the U.S. Marine Corps Parachutist School at San Diego, California. He was lovingly dubbed “Chief Falling Cloud.” Ira Hayes was assigned to a parachute battalion of the fleet Marine Force.”


One Tempe Vietnam vet found standing along the parade, seen saluting the American flag and waving to the passing color guards, said he comes every year. “This is the only place I have ever been were I truly feel honored for being a Warrior.”


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