A Nation of Immigrants

United States Declaration of Independence Signed by the Continental Congress July 4, 1776

Declaration of Independence
Signed by the Continental Congress
July 4, 1776

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”

Thomas Jefferson A Founding Father  Principal Author  Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson
A Founding Father
Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence

In 1886, a gift from the people of France to the United States would become a beacon of hope for immigrants to this country.  The copper statue, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, was built by Gustave Eiffel and dedicated on October 28, 1886.

Statue of Liberty Liberty Island New York City, New York Circa 1900

Statue of Liberty
Liberty Island
New York City, New York
Circa 1900

Mounted inside the base of the Statue of Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me…”

Sonnet by Emma Lazarus – 1883

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President Grover Cleveland presided over the dedication event,  preceded by a New York City parade.  Estimates in attendance ranged from several hundred thousand to a million strong.  As the parade passed the New York Stock Exchange, traders throwing ticker-tape from the windows  would  initiate  New York’s  tradition of  the ticker-tape parade.

A nautical armada followed for the unveiling of the statue and President Cleveland’s remarks.

“…Liberty enlightens the world.”

“Unveiling the Statue of Liberty 1886″
Oil on canvas by Edward Moran (1829-1901)
The J. Clarence Davies Collection
Museum of the City of New York

The United States experienced major waves of immigration during the colonial era of the 1600s, again in the early 19th century, and from the 1880s to 1920.  Many came to America seeking greater economic opportunity and religious freedom.   Others sought solace from war, famine, and oppression.

The first significant federal legislation restricting immigration was enacted in 1882. Individual states regulated  the process  prior to the dedication of Ellis Island, as the first federal immigrant station in 1892.

Initial Ellis Island Immigrant Station Opened on January 1, 1892.  Built of wood, it was completely destroyed by fire on June 15, 1897.

Original Ellis Island Immigrant Station January 1, 1892
Built of wood, it was completely destroyed by fire on June 15, 1897
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Second Ellis Island Immigration Landing Station December 17, 1900, as seen on February 24, 1905 Library of Congress

Second Ellis Island Immigration Landing Station
December 17, 1900
as seen on February 24, 1905
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The present main structure was designed in French Renaissance Revival style and built of red brick with limestone trim.  When it opened on December 17, 1900, officials estimated 5,000 immigrants per day would be processed.  The facilities, however, proved barely able to handle the flood of immigrants arriving in the years just prior to World War I.  Writer Louis Adamic, arriving in America from Slovenia in 1913, described the night he and many others slept on bunk beds in a huge hall. Lacking a warm blanket, the young man “shivered, sleepless, all night, listening to snores” and dreams “in perhaps a dozen different languages.”  The facility was so large that the dining room could seat 1,000 people.

After its opening, Ellis Island was expanded with landfill and additional structures were built.  By the time it closed on November 12, 1954, twelve million immigrants had been processed by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration.   It is estimated that 10.5 million departed for points across the United States.

Immigrants on an Atlantic liner bound for New York and the United States Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Immigrants on an Atlantic liner bound for New York and the United States
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Immigrants on the steerage deck of an ocean liner passing the Statue of Liberty. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Immigrants on the steerage deck of an ocean liner passing the Statue of Liberty
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Immigrants waiting for transfer to Ellis Island, October 30, 1912 Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Immigrants waiting for transfer to Ellis Island, October 30, 1912
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

 

Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island  1902

Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island
1902
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

 

Immigrants Awaiting Inspection  1904 Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Immigrants awaiting Inspection
1904
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

My own maternal grandparents, Carolina and Nestor Simolin, were Finnish immigrants in 1920 with two daughters, Viann (age 4) and my mother, Eva (age 2).  Nestor, a tailor from the old country, was immensely grateful for the opportunity to thrive in his chosen trade.  Settling in northern Minnesota with other Scandinavians, they lived amid the climate and landscape of their homeland in this adopted country.

Carolina and Nestor Simolin  Finland  circa 1915

Carolina and Nestor Simolin
Finland
circa 1915

Carolina  and Nestor Simolin with daughters Viann and Eva, my mother<br/> (1920)

Carolina and Nestor Simolin with daughters Viann (left) and Eva, my mother
(1920)

Nestor Simolin (2nd from left) as a tailor in Chicago 1927

Nestor Simolin (2nd from left) as a tailor in Chicago
1927

 God Bless America

U.S. flag

 God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea

—  America the Beautiful

4th of July fireworks  Washington D.C.

4th of July fireworks
Washington D.C.

Independence Day

July 4, 2015

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Remembering the Fallen

The Folded Flag

Ode of Remembrance

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

     Laurence Binyon’s “For the Fallen” – 1914

Wherever they may rest-we honor them

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest, by all their country’s wishes blest

William Collins

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The American Revolution

1775 – 1783

The Delaware Regiment at the Battle of Long Island Brooklyn, New York -- August 27, 1776

The Delaware Regiment
Battle of Long Island
Brooklyn, New York — August 27, 1776

The Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution is a war memorial located in Washington Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It honors the 25,000 soldiers who died during the American Revolutionary War, many of whom were buried in that park in mass graves.  In the  Tomb  rests the disinterred and archaeologically examined remains of a soldier, although undetermined whether Colonial or British.

The memorial was first conceived in 1954 by the Washington Square Planning Committee and completed in 1957.   The monument, designed by architect G. Edwin Brumbaugh, includes an eternal flame and, as  its centerpiece,  a bronze cast of Jean Antoine Houdon’s statue of George Washington.    An unknown number of bodies remain buried beneath the square and surrounding area.

Engraved in the side of the tomb are these words:

“Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness”

“The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint  efforts of common dangers, suffering and success”   (Washington Farewell Address, Sept. 17, 1796)

“In unmarked graves within this square lie thousands of unknown soldiers of Washington’s Army who died of wounds and sickness during the Revolutionary War”

The plaque on the tomb reads:

“Beneath this stone rests a soldier of Washington’s army who died to give you liberty”

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War of 1812

1812 – 1815

Battle of New Orleans January, 1815 National Archives & Records Administration

Battle of New Orleans
January, 1815
National Archives & Records Administration

The 32-month War of 1812 and its 15,000 casualties approached the 25,000 war-related  deaths  during  nearly 9 years of the American Revolutionary War.  In both cases, disease, not the musket, created most casualties.  Pneumonia was a particular scourge of American society and its army was not immune.

Multiple monuments to the War of 1812 exist nationwide, including the memorial to the Battle of New Orleans.

Battle of New Orleans Monument Chalmette, Louisiana

Battle of New Orleans Monument
Chalmette, Louisiana

The final land battle of the War of 1812 was fought here following the signing of the peace treaty but prior to the news reaching the armies. The Battle of New Orleans Memorial stands over 70 feet tall and looks over the Chalmette battlefield where 2,000 British and 13 U.S. casualties occurred.

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Civil War

1861 – 1865

Unknown Union Soldier of the Civil War Circa 1860 and 1870 - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Unknown Union Soldier of the Civil War
Circa 1860 and 1870 – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Unknown Confederate Soldier Company E,

Unknown Confederate Soldier
Company E, “Lynchburg Rifles,” 11th Virginia Infantry Volunteers, 1861

The Civil War Monument of the Unknown Located on the grounds of Arlington House (the Robert E. Lee Memorial)   Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia Creative Commons, author Tim. 1965

The Civil War Monument of the Unknown
Located on the grounds of Arlington House (the Robert E. Lee Memorial)
Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia
(Photo: Creative Commons, author Tim. 1965)

The inscription:

“Beneath this stone repose the bones of two thousand one hundred and eleven unknown soldiers gathered after the war from the fields of Bull Run and the route to the Rappahanock.  Their remains could not be identified but their names and deaths are recorded in the archives of their country and its grateful citizens honor them and their noble army of martyrs.  May they rest in peace.  September A.D. 1866″

U.S. Army troops, dispatched to investigate every battlefield within a 35 mile radius of Washington, D.C., collected the bodies of the 2,111 Union and Confederate dead.  Most were retrieved from the battlefields of First and Second Bull Run,  as well as the Union army’s retreat along the Rappahanock River.  Some of these soldiers were interred where they fell, but most were full or partial remains discovered on the field of battle.  None were identifiable.   The Civil War incurred 750,000 in casualties.

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  Spanish – American War

April 25-December 10, 1898

Charge of the 24th and 25th Colored Infantry and Rescue of the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill July 2, 1898

Charge of the 24th and 25th Colored Infantry and Rescue of the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill
July 2, 1898

United States Army officer Colonel Charles A. Wikoff was the most senior U.S. military officer killed in the Spanish–American War.  American casualties totaled 2,446 with 385 in combat and 2,061 succumbing to mosquito-borne disease.

Colonel Charles A. Wickoff, U.S. Army Spanish American War

Colonel Charles A. Wickoff, U.S. Army
Spanish-American War

Spanish-American War Memorial  Arlington National Cemetery   Arlington, Virginia Dedicated May 12, 1902

Spanish-American War Memorial
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia
Dedicated May 12, 1902

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World War I

1917 1918

President Wilson addresses Congress, announcing the break in official relations with Germany on 3 February 1917.

President Wilson addresses Congress on the break in official relations with Germany on 3 February 1917.

World War I was a global war centered in Europe from 28 July 1914 until 11 November 1918.  More than 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died as a result of the war which was one of the deadliest conflicts in history.   U.S. military casualties totaled 116,516.

WWI American soldier, Le Mans, France

WWI American soldier, Le Mans, France

Tomb of the Unknowns Arlington National Cemetery

Tomb of the Unknowns
Arlington National Cemetery

On March 4, 1921, the United States Congress approved the burial of an unidentified WWI American serviceman in the plaza of the new Memorial Amphitheater.   On November 11th, an unknown soldier returned from France was also entombed.

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World War II

1941 – 1945

President Franklin D. Roosevelt  Delivering his "Day of Infamy" speech to Congress for a declaration of war December 8, 1941 (U.S. Government - U.S. Archives)

President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Delivering his “Day of Infamy” speech to Congress for a declaration of war
December 8, 1941
(U.S. Government – U.S. Archives)

WWII was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, though related conflicts began earlier.  It involved the vast majority of the world’s nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis.   The most widespread war in history, it directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries.  Marked by mass deaths of civilians, as well as military forces, an estimated 50 to 85 million fatalities made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history.  U.S. military casualties reached 405,399.

American Soldier in 1940s WWII uniform

American soldier in 1940s WWII uniform

Pacific Arch of the National WWII Memorial-Washington, DC

Pacific Arch of the National WWII Memorial-Washington, DC

The National World War II Memorial is a national monument dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II.   Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, it sits on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Opened on April 29, 2004, it was dedicated by President George W. Bush on May 29.  The memorial is administered by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group.   As of 2009, more than 4.4 million people visit the memorial each year.

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Korean War

1950 – 1953

U.S. Troops in Korea September, 1945

U.S. Troops in Korea
September, 1945

The Korean War between North and South Korea was joined by a United Nations force led by the United States in support for the South, while China, aligned with the North, was assisted by the Soviet Union.  The war arose from the division of Korea at the end of World War II and from the global tensions of the Cold War  which developed immediately afterwards.   American casualties for this conflict would reach 36,574.

Aerial View of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Washington, D.C.

Aerial View of the Korean War Veterans Memorial
Washington, D.C.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial was confirmed by the U.S. Congress on October 28, 1986, with design and construction managed by the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board and the American Battle Monuments Commission.  President George H. W. Bush conducted the groundbreaking for the site  on June 14, 1992.

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Vietnam War

1964 – 1973

US troops fighting in 1965 Battle of Ia Drang  UH-1 Huey infantry dispatch

US troops fighting in 1965 Battle of Ia Drang
UH-1 Huey infantry dispatch

The Vietnam War was a Cold-War era  conflict  that  occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975.    It was fought between North Vietnam—supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies—and the government of South Vietnam—supported by the United States and other anti-communist proponents.

Direct U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973.  The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese Army in April 1975 marked the end of the war and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.  The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities.  Estimates of the number of Vietnamese service members and civilians killed vary from 800,000 to 3.1 million.  Some 200,000–300,000 Cambodians, 20,000–200,000 Laotians, and 58,209 U.S. service members also died in the conflict.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall National Mall Washington, D.C. Mario Roverto Durán Ortiz.  December 26, 2011

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
National Mall
Washington, D.C.
Mario Roverto Durán Ortiz. December 26, 2011 photo

Three Soldiers by Frederick Hart Grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial National Mall Washington, D.C.

Three Soldiers by Frederick Hart
Grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
National Mall
Washington, D.C

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Gulf War

1990 – 1991

USAF aircraft of the 4th Fighter Wing (F-16, F-15C and F-15E) fly over Kuwaiti oil fires, set by the retreating Iraqi army during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

USAF aircraft of the 4th Fighter Wing (F-16, F-15C and F-15E) fly over Kuwaiti oil fires, set by the retreating Iraqi army during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

The Gulf War  (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), codenamed Operation Desert Shield  (2 August 1990 – 17 January 1991) for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) in its combat phase.  It was a war waged by coalition forces from 34 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait.  U.S. military forces suffered 384 deaths and 467 wounded.

U.S. Army soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade during the Gulf War

U.S. Army soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade during the Gulf War

Capt. Michael Scott Speicher carried by a Navy honor guard following his death when his F/A-18 Hornet was shot down over Anbar province, Iraq on the first day of offensive operations during Desert Storm on Jan. 17, 1991

August 13, 2009.  Capt. Michael Scott Speicher carried by a Navy honor guard to All Saints Chapel at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, FL.  Declared MIA when his F/A-18 Hornet was shot down over Anbar province, Iraq on the first day of offensive operations in Desert Storm, Jan. 17, 1991, his remains were recovered from Iraq in 2009.

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War on Terror

Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and ISIL (Operation Inherent Resolve)

7 October 2001 – Present

Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, an international military campaign commenced for the War on Terror.  The United States led a coalition of other NATO and non-NATO nations to destroy al-Qaeda and other militant extremist organizations.

U.S. President George W. Bush first used the term “War on Terror” on 20 September 2001. The Bush administration and the western media have since used the term to argue a global military, political, legal, and conceptual struggle against those designated as terrorist in nature and the regimes accused of supporting them.  It was originally used with a particular focus on Muslim countries associated with Islamic terrorism organizations including al-Qaeda and those of similar persuasion.

In the period following 9/11, former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf sided with the US against the Taliban government in Afghanistan after an ultimatum by then US President George W. Bush.  Musharraf agreed to give the US the use of three airbases for Operation Enduring Freedom.

On 12 January 2002, Musharraf gave a speech against Islamic extremism. He unequivocally condemned all acts of terrorism and pledged to combat Islamic extremism and lawlessness within Pakistan itself. He stated that his government was committed to rooting out extremism and made it clear that the banned militant organizations would not be allowed to resurface under any new name.  It’s estimated that 15 US soldiers have been killed while fighting al-Qaeda and Taliban remnants in Pakistan since the War on Terror began.

In 2013, President Barack Obama announced the United States was no longer pursuing a War on Terror, as the military focus should be on specific enemies rather than a tactic.  He stated, “We must define our effort not as a boundless ‘Global War on Terror,’ but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America.”

The president has authorized U.S. Central Command to work with partner nations to conduct targeted airstrikes of Iraq and Syria as part of the comprehensive strategy to degrade and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

 Afghanistan

2001 – Present (2,229 casualties)

American infantry in Afghanistan, assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, board a CH-47 Chinook helicopter for return to Kandahar Army Air Field on Sept. 4, 2003. The Soldiers were searching in Daychopan district, Afghanistan, for Taliban fighters and illegal weapons caches.

American infantry in Afghanistan, assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, board a CH-47 Chinook helicopter for return to Kandahar Army Air Field on Sept. 4, 2003. The Soldiers were searching in Daychopan district, Afghanistan, for Taliban fighters and illegal weapons caches.

U.S. Army Spc. Jason Curtis Assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment, provides security for members of a medical civil action project in Parun,Afghanistan,  June 28, 2007.

U.S. Army Spc. Jason Curtis Assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment,
provides security for members of a medical civil action project in Parun, Afghanistan
June 28, 2007.

Iraq

2003 – 2011  (4,488 casualties)

Sgt. Auralie Suarez and Private Brett Mansink take cover during a firefight with guerrilla forces in the Al Doura section of Baghdad on 7th of March 2007. The soldiers are from Company C, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

Sgt. Auralie Suarez and Private Brett Mansink take cover during a firefight with guerrilla forces in the Al Doura section of Baghdad on 7th of March 2007. The soldiers are from Company C, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

Sgt. Karl King and Pfc. David Valenzuela lay down cover fire while their squad maneuvers down a street from behind the cover of a Stryker combat vehicle.  They are engaging gunmen who fired on their convoy in Al Doura, Iraq on 7 March 2007. The Soldiers are from Company C, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. U.S. Army. Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean A. Foley

Sgt. Karl King and Pfc. David Valenzuela lay down cover fire while their squad maneuvers down a street from behind the cover of a Stryker combat vehicle. They are engaging gunmen who fired on their convoy in Al Doura, Iraq on 7 March 2007.
The Soldiers are from Company C, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. U.S. Army. Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean A. Foley

Pakistan

Since 2001  (15 casualties)

Pakistan-Afghanistan border.  GI standing in the Khyber Pass at the Torkham border crossing.

Pakistan-Afghanistan border. GI standing in the Khyber Pass at the Torkham border crossing.

Soldier Edwin Churchill calls for indirect fire following an enemy attack on his company's position near the Pakistan border in Afghanistan on May 18, 2011.

Soldier Edwin Churchill calls for indirect fire following an enemy attack on his company’s position near the Pakistan border in Afghanistan on May 18, 2011.

Syria

Tomahawk missile being fire from US destroyers USS Philippine Sea and USS Arleigh Burke at IS targets 23 September 2014

Tomahawk missile being fired from US destroyers USS Philippine Sea and USS Arleigh Burke at IS targets
23 September 2014

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In Memory of their Sacrifice

Flag-draped American caskets on National Mall

 God Bless America and our Military

Helicopter flying in front of the Statue of Liberty, New York. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement office of Air and Marine Interdiction provides airspace security over New York City.

Helicopter flying in front of the Statue of Liberty, New York. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement office of Air and Marine Interdiction provides airspace security over New York City.

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Medal of Honor – Iwo Jima

Defining a Hero

Jack Lummus - MOH

       FIRST LIEUTENANT JACK LUMMUS,  USMC RESERVE
CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR,  WWII

As  individuals of distinguished courage or ability, duly recognized for valiant service and  heroic qualities,  they  fearlessly  sacrifice  for  a  higher purpose.

First Lieutenant Jack Lummus, Iwo Jima 1945

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Awarded posthumously to First Lieutenant Jack Lummus for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty….He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

Leader of a Rifle Platoon attached to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, he was killed in action against Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, March 8, 1945, at the age of 29 and the only son of four children.

Living his dream as a member of the NFL’s New York Giants, he had enlisted following the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor.  In a letter to his mother, Lummus’ commanding officer wrote:

Jack suffered very little for he didn’t live long.  I saw Jack soon after he was hit.  With calmness, serenity and complacency, Jack said, ‘The New York Giants lost a good man.’ We all lost a good man.

 

Jack Lummus-NFL NY Giants-2

 

His citation for heroic actions may be viewed  at  the National Medal of Honor Museum of Military History,  Jack Lummus, MOH, and reads as follows:

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The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

FIRST LIEUTENANT JACK LUMMUS
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

                                                For service as set forth in the following

CITATION

MOH Citation-1MOH Citation-2

(signed) Harry S. Truman

 

Medal of Honor-3

         Congressional Medal of Honor

The highest award for valor in action against an enemy force, bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.  Awarded to its recipient by the President in the name of Congress, it is commonly a posthumous medal presented to those who have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life and above and beyond the call of duty.

Created by a Resolution signed into law by President Lincoln on December 21, 1861, the first Medals of Honor were presented over 150 years ago, March 25, 1863, to soldiers during the Civil War.  The President, in the name of Congress, has awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to our nation’s bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration’s creation.

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In Profound Gratitude for their Commitment

and Sacrifice on our Behalf

 

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Raising the Flag

Iwo Jima

Marine Corps War Memorial  Arlington, Virginia

Marine Corps War Memorial
Arlington, Virginia

 February 23, 1945

Five U.S. Marines and a Navy Corpsman raise the American flag
in the Battle of Iwo Jima

Regarded  as one of the most significant and recognizable images of WWII, three Marines depicted in the photograph would be killed in action during the next few days.   The photo was later used by Felix de Weldon to sculpt the Marine Corps War Memorial, dedicated in 1954, in honor and memory of all Marines who have given their lives for their country.

Commissioned to design the memorial in 1951, it would take three years and hundreds of assistants to complete the iconic image.  The flag-raising survivors would pose for de Weldon who would then sculpt the others from photographs.

Mount Suribachi  The dominant geographical feature of the island of Iwo Jima U.S. Navy Photo

Mount Suribachi
The dominant geographical feature of the island of Iwo Jima
U.S. Navy Photo

On February 19, 1945, the United States invaded Iwo Jima as part of  its strategy to defeat Japan.  Although not originally a target, the relatively swift fall of the Philippines provided a tactical opportunity prior to the planned invasion of Okinawa.   Iwo Jima was used by the Japanese to alert the  homeland of incoming American planes and was located  between Japan and the Mariana Islands, a base for long-range American bombers.  Following the capture of the island, America weakened the Japanese early warning system and provided an emergency landing strip for damaged bombers.

A volcanic  island,  Iwo Jima was heavily fortified and the invading U.S. Marines suffered high casualties.   The elevation of Mount Suribachi’s 546-foot dormant cone was a tremendous artillery vantage  point for the Japanese  against our forces – particularly the landing beaches.  As a necessity, American effort thus concentrated on isolating and capturing Suribachi, a goal achieved on February 23, 1945 with the raising of the American flag,  four days after the battle commenced.

As the first Japanese homeland-soil secured  by Americans, it had been a matter of honor for the Japanese to prevent its capture.  Despite  our success in reaching Suribachi, the battle continued to rage for 31 days until March 26.  The 35-day assault would ultimately result in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 deaths.

“Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue”

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In Eternal Remembrance

December 7, 1941

USN Pearl Harbor Survivor, Bill Johnson (January 20, 2004) Wall of Casualties – USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.   "To the memory of the gallant men here entombed and their shipmates  who gave their lives in action on December 7, 1941 on the USS Arizona" (U.S. Navy Photo)

USN Pearl Harbor Survivor, Bill Johnson (January 20, 2004)
Wall of Casualties – USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
“To the memory of the gallant men here entombed and their shipmates
who gave their lives in action on December 7, 1941 on the USS Arizona”
(U.S. Navy Photo)

In Service and Sacrifice

The very soul of a nation is its heroes”

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Honoring Our Veterans

For Love of Country

Statue of Liberty-2

They Serve

Joint Services

They Sacrifice

Gratitude-5

and

We Honor Their Commitment

Commitment

Their Valor

Unknown Soldier-2

In Gratitude For Our Freedom

U.S. flag

 Veterans Day 2014

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“Never in the history of the world has anyone sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of all “

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Uncommon Valor – June 6, 1944

WWII cemetery and memorial honoring American troops who died in Europe during WWII. Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France.

WWII cemetery and memorial honoring American troops who died in Europe during WWII.
Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France.

NORMANDY

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For Those Recognized To All

 

Normandy Marker-known to all

 

And Those Only Known To One

 

Normandy Marker-known to one

 

 “Lord, where did we get such men?”

 

Veterans and dignitaries gather to hear the D-day service at Bayeux cathedral in France.  Photograph: Reuters

Veterans and dignitaries gather for D-Day service at Bayeux Cathedral in France.  June 6, 2014
Photograph: Reuters

In Eternal Reverence and Gratitude

Sunrise on Omaha Beach at Normandy, France.  June 6, 2014 (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Sunrise on Omaha Beach at Normandy, France on the 70th Anniversary. June 6, 2014
(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

 For Your Sacrifice on Behalf of Freedom

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“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”

John F. Kennedy

 

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