On This Day, March 16

On March 16, 1945, the west Pacific volcanic island of Iwo Jima is declared secured by the U.S. military after months of fiercely fighting its Japanese defenders.  Amphibious landings of Marines began the morning of February 19, 1945. By that evening, more than 550 Marines were dead and more than 1,800 were wounded. In the face of such fierce counterattack, the Americans reconciled themselves to the fact that Iwo Jima could be taken only one yard at a time. A key position on the island was Mt. Suribachi. The 28th Marine Regiment closed in and around the base of the volcanic mountain at the rate of 400 yards per day, employing flamethrowers, grenades, and demolition charges against the Japanese that were hidden in caves and pillboxes (low concrete emplacements for machine-gun nests). Approximately 40 Marines finally began a climb up the volcanic ash mountain, which was smoking from the constant bombardment, and at 10 a.m. on February 23, a half-dozen Marines raised an American flag at its peak, using a pipe as a flag post. Two photographers caught a restaging of the flag raising for posterity, creating one of the most reproduced images of the war.  When all was done, more than 6,000 Marines died fighting for the island, along with almost all the 21,000 Japanese soldiers trying to defend it. Fierce Japanese resistance and the high casualty rate combined with a similar experience with the invasion of Okinawa contributed to the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. Find Iwo Jima at the library, on hoopla and in OverDrive.


Otis-ReddingOn March 16, 1968, Otis Redding has his only Number One hit, “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay”. Redding died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967. Find Otis Reading at the library,  on hoopla and in Freegal.





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