Remembering Iwo Jima-Freedom Honor Flight - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Remembering Iwo Jima-Freedom Honor Flight

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WXOW) One of the most famous battles of World War II took place on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima.

One of the most famous photos of all time came from that battle-the famous flag raising from battle taken shortly after American troops reached the top of Mount Suribachi.

Harry Bach remembers the battle for that mountain like it was yesterday. He was there.

Harry traveled to Washington DC Saturday with 100 other area vets on the Freedom Honor Flight. He sat down with News 19's Amy DuPont in front of the Iwo Jima monument to share his emotional story.

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Inscribed on the Marine Corps War Memorial is the phrase Uncommon Valor. A common virtue among the men like Harry Bach who fought the fierce battle for Iwo Jima.

"There were almost 7,000 Marines killed there in a month,"says Bach.

Harry was one of the lucky few to survive. Nearly seven decades later, he is still haunted by his memories. "What I remember is the steady stream of jeeps and ambulances carrying back the wounded just like a funeral procession."

One of those men was Harry's best friend. "A mortar shell went right into their fox hole."

Standing in front of his memorial Harry says is bittersweet. "I know people appreciate it. I've had people stop me many times. Thanks for serving; but I get all choked up about this."

Tears are common among many who visit this place not just the men who lived it.

Honor flight volunteer Jim Campbell says:"We've seen movies, we've read the books, but when you're standing there in front of the men that were there in 1945 it's very emotional."

But with every tear a feeling of pride and admiration.  Harry says, "I know how hard these guys fought there. It was a war that we had to fight." For the men and women, who like Harry, served their country well.

Harry lives in La Crescent, MN with his son. He had visited the Iwo Jima monument before but says seeing it again with other veterans was special.

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