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Honoring the Marine Legacy

by SofS Staff - February 18, 2009

Commemorating the Battle of Iwo Jima by preserving Marine Corps stories


“Uncommon valor was a common virtue”

Admiral Chester A. Nimitz,
speaking of the Marines on Iwo Jima



Members of the Stories of Service "Marine Team" at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, VA


Marine Stories (VIDEOS)

-Tommy's Story (WWII - Iwo Jima)*
- My Toughest Round (WWII - Iwo Jima)
- Iwo Jima Journey (WWII - Iwo Jima)
- Bloody Tarawa (WWII)
- No Marine Left Behind (Korea)
- Our Fallen Warrior (Iraq)*
- Love is Forever  (Iraq)*
- All American Boy, Marine and Hero (Iraq)*
- My Broken Heart (Iraq)*


* = Gold Star story by family member of the fallen


Useful Marine Websites:

- Young Marines

- Marine Corps Main Website

- Marine Corps League

- Marine Corps Heritage Foundation

On February 19, 1945, the United States Marines landed on the tiny Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima.  Over the next month and a half, Marines of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Divisions fought an inch-by-inch, deadly struggle against a desperate, dug-in enemy, in what was one of the costliest battles of the Second World War.  

In the midst of the fighting, AP Photographer Joe Rosenthal captured a photo of Marines raising the U.S. flag at the summit of Mt. Suribachi, the island's highest point.  This photograph immediately became one of the defining images of the Second World War, and has become the iconic moment of Marine Corps history.

In commemoration of the anniversary of Battle of Iwo Jima , Stories of Service is introducing a specal Marine Corps Legacy project, dedicated to preserving the stories of Marine veterans from WWII and other eras. 

This project will be officially launched with a public rally and press event at the USMC War Memorial in Arlington, VA on Sunday May 24, in DC. This event will kick off of a 12-month campaign to capture as many Marine stories as possible before Memorial Day 2010, when the National Memorial Day Parade will be focusing on the Marines. 

Stories of Service is reaching out to the members of the extended "Marine Corps Family" to get involved in this effort, from veterans of eras, to those currently serving, as well as legacy organizations, families and youth programs. 

In particular, we are excited to be working with the Young Marines of the Marine Corps league, who are invited to take part in this project as part of their community service and as an opportunity to learn more about the legacy of those they represent.  We are pleased to continue this partnership which began with our successful collaboration at the National Call to Service event in San Diego on January 19.


Korean War Marine Denny Weisberger at the USMC Memorial with a Stories of Service youth producer
The Young Marines have been invited to participate in and support our 2009 National Memorial Day Rally in Washington, D.C., starting with a special training and "Boot Camp" on Saturday, May 23.

They will also be assisting in hosting our Gold Star Reception that evening, featuring the Thomas Begley Memorial Award for the best Digital Story about a WWII Marine produced in the last 12 months.  Young Marines will provide our national spokesperson Edith Shain with her honor guard for the evening. 

On Sunday, Young Marines will join us for wreath layings at the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, and will help lead a special ceremony at the USMC War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) in Arlington, prior to our annual wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

On Memorial Day itself, they will participate in a wreath laying at the Navy Memorial national spokesperson Mr. Ernest Borgnine, and will march in the National Memorial Day Parade. 

Immediately following the parade, they will join and support the National Call to Service Rally at the National World War II Memorial.  At this rally, Mr. Borgnine and Ms. Shain will urge young people of America to step forward to take up the mantle of service of the "greatest generation" by volunteering in their communities, including helping their local VA Hospital.

We will be introducing more information about this initiative in the weeks to come, so please check back frequently!

"As someone who has been involved with the Stories of Service program for several years, and the sister of a Marine who was killed during the battle for Iwo Jima 64 years ago, I am very pleased to learn that the Young Marines will be helping to lead a national campaign to preserve the legacy of the U.S. Marines.
  "I know that you will learn much about commitment, sacrifice and the true meaning of service to community through this program, and will giving something very personal to the veterans and to their families that no memorial or museum can provide by preserving their stories and sharing them with the world.
  "While I am now getting on in years myself, it gives me great comfort and happiness to know that young people are taking part in this national effort to preserve the stories of those who served. Thank you for your service to our country."

Lavada Begley Peterson
Sister of Marine Private Thomas Begley
KIA February 1945
View Tommy's Story

“I am thrilled that the Young Marines... are in partnership with Stories of Service.

"Our nation has survived numerous conflicts because America’s citizens wanted to preserve the many freedoms we have come to expect of our men and women in uniform.

"The stories are many, most of them untold. The experiences of our brave men and women run deep, and need to be chronicled to ensure their legacy."

“I look forward to a long and successful partnership with Stories of Service and would like to announce that this will become a part of our National Campaign to honor America’s veterans from all wars and conflicts.”

Michael Kessler
National Executive Director/CEO
Young Marines of the
Marine Corps League

Entire Letter | Website

"As the mother of a young Marine who sacrificed his life for his country, I want to urge the young men and women from the Young Marines units across America to honor our nation's veterans by taking part in the Stories of Service program.
   I know that my son, Marine Lance Corporal Travis Layfield, would be proud of you for doing your part to assure that the legacy of his fellow Marines who served bravely from the time of World War II to the present day, is never forgotten.
   I hope you will be able to attend the Stories of Service National Memorial Day Rally in Washington, D.C. on May 23-25, so that I can personally express my appreciation at the reception that I and my fellow Gold Star families will be hosting. In the meantime, thank you for helping expand this important program to communities everywhere in America.  Semper Fi."

Dianne Layfield
Proud Mother of
LCpl Travis Layfield
KIA April 6th, 2004

View Travis' Story

"My son, Brandon, will never know his father who was killed while serving his country in Iraq before his son was born. But I know that he will always be proud of his father and what it meant to him to be a United States Marine.
   "I believe that those who made the ultimate sacrifice would take comfort in the fact that youth like the Young Marines are volunteering their time and skills to preserve the stories of those who place themselves in harm's way in defense of our country, and especially the Marines whose legacy can inspire all Americans.
   "Thank you for what you are doing to make sure Marines like my husband are forever remembered"


Praba Boyles

Proud Wife of
LCpl Aaron Boyles
KIA September 24th, 2004

View Aaron's Story



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