Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46By YM/GySgt Shaina Halverson Eastern Mountain (AZ) I’m from small town in Arizona, so I rarely do things like swim in the ocean, travel out of the country or do anything that doesn’t involve pine trees and snow. However, through the Young Marines program, I was select- ed to go to Guam and Iwo Jima to assist WWII veterans returning for the annual Reunion of Honor. The flight to Guam takes 15 hours, so I slept a lot. Once we arrived, we prepared for the tours that would take place over the next few days. We had the opportu- nity to sit down with the veterans and listen to their stories. They told us about their lives before the war. They talked about why they enlisted, and they shared their memories of the war and return- ing home. It was so humbling to sit with these men and listen first hand to their memories. It instilled a sense of pride and patriotism that I hope every Young Marine gets the opportunity to experi- ence. The first few days we toured Guam. We had dinner, visited the War Dog Memo- rial, and listened to our veterans as they explained what took place at each land- ing beach we visited. March 18th is when we went to Iwo Jima for the Reunion of Honor. I remem- ber the way the sun was beating down on us,the distinct smell of sulfur,and the sound of the waves crashing onto the beaches. I’ll never forget the feeling of blisters on my feet, my swollen fingers, and my cammies being soaked with per- spiration. But knowing that 71 years ago, men around my age fought a battle on that same island made me forget my dis- comfort. So many young men lost their lives fighting on this island The top of Mount Suribachi was over- whelming because of the history that took place upon it. The waves crash- ing on to Red Beach to my right, the flag raising sight at my feet, Iwo Jima laid out before me and 9 of my favorite people next to me. We only spent enough time on Suribachi to take pictures and fly our flags.The veter- ans who landed on Red Beach asked us to collect black sand for them. Feeling that black sand and giving it to men who fought there was a feeling I cannot place into words. I am eternally grateful to the men who fought in WWII and to the Young Marines program for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to meet some of these re- markable men. By YM/SgtMaj Matthew Carr Columbus (IN) I was with top Young Marines from around the country as a rep- resentative of my division. Our mission: to escort World War II Iwo Jima Veterans on a historical tour throughout Guam and to the is- land Iwo Jima during the 71st Iwo Jima anniversary reunion of honor. Listening to the stories from the veterans and being able to be ex- perience living history for a week was the most monumental experience of my life. One of the veterans told us how his arm was wounded and yet he continued his fight on Iwo Jima. The Young Marines walked the 4.2 mile hike up the mountain at a quick cadence pace. It was extremely hot and I recall one of the veterans telling us that the Japanese were not the biggest enemy of the day, it was the heat and the dry volcanic ash on the beach. Hiking up the mountain was a beautiful and emotional experi- ence. Comprehending the fact that these WWII veterans were doing what I was doing in that moment but while carrying a rifle and being shot at was an eye opening moment, especially consid- ering the fact that they were my age or in some cases, even younger. Some Time Well-Spent with a Veteran of Iwo JIma Honoring Our Veterans The Reunion of Honor: A Sense of Pride and Patriotism ESPRIT ONLINE | Page 26