In late February 1946, Colonel Jesse Thomas Traywick, Sr. visited his niece Jean’s class at the Goode Street School, an elementary school in Montgomery, Alabama. Hardly half a year had passed since Traywick had been released from over three years of imprisonment by the Japanese. Some of the children wrote Traywick thank-you letters, including his niece Jean, whose letter (pictured in the center below) stated “I appreciate you coming here very much. One little girl said I was lucky to have an uncle like you.”
Traywick had served in the Philippines as Gen. Jonathan Wainwright’s G-3, or Assistant Chief of Staff and was entrusted to deliver a handwritten letter of surrender to Maj. Gen. William Sharp. Although Wainwright had agreed to surrender, General Homma wanted assurance that the forces under Maj. Gen. William Sharp would also put down their arms. Traywick was held as a prisoner of war by the Japanese from the fall of Corregidor on 6 May 1942, until the end of hostilities in August 1945.
Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!
Never underestimate the honey bee! The influence of these creatures on our world is enormous, and the aid of bees and beekeepers during World War II was necessary to winning the war. In fact, the Department of Agriculture in Washington DC deemed the honey industry ‘essential’ during wartime, even requesting a 20% increase in production in 1942 just to keep up with demand for both honey and beeswax. How is this possible?
Well, the USA loves its sugar, but during World War II, the Japanese occupied many countries we formerly purchased sugar from, meaning a shortage and rationing. Honey became the obvious and easily accessible substitute. In addition to honey, beeswax was used to coat air planes, shells, drills, bits, cables and pulleys, adhesive tape, varnishes, canvases, awnings, anything and everything! Beeswax prevented rust, strengthened, and waterproofed and we had access to it at home. In fact, on certain occasions, beekeepers were deferred from military service just to keep up production of honey and wax!
There is simply no denying the value of bees during World War II, and the benefits do not end there – even today, we can experience the gifts of beeswax in our home by burning beeswax candles! Believe it or not, in addition to waterproofing the family plane, beeswax can be used to purify the air. Beeswax releases negative ions when burning, which neutralizes the positive charge of air contaminants (like pollen, dust, and dirt), allowing them to be sucked into the burning candle or drop to the floor.
We know this information is incredibly mind blowing, but there’s more! Here are five simple steps to creating your own beeswax candles:
1. Prepare jars – we used mason jars found around the house. Use cotton square wicks – these are not the same as for paraffin candles as beeswax burns slower so requires a larger wick – and wrap them around a pen or pencil.
2. Melt wax – we used 1 lb of beeswax. Use a double boiler – or we used a small metal mixing bowl inside of a saucepan. After the wax is melted, add about ¾ cup of coconut oil. It smells lovely, but any oil will do.
3. Set wick – pour just a bit at first to get the wick to stick.
4. Pour candle – After about a minute, the jar can be filled the rest of the way with the melted wax.
5. Trim wick – after you are sure the wax is set, go ahead and trim your wick. But wait to burn the candles for 24 hours, just to make sure the mixture is set.
Voila! The instructions were what we found worked after consulting many DIY candle-making websites. Should you like more comprehensive information, such as using alternate sized jars or wicks, or how to filter beeswax, we found this blog very enlightening.
Posted by Laurel Taylor, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at the World War II Museum
Tom Brokaw, Tom Hanks, and Museum President and CEO Gordon “Nick” Mueller, PhD at The American Spirit Awards Gala at Cipriani Wall Street in New York on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.
When The National WWII Museum first opened its doors on June 6, 2000, as The National D-Day Museum, legendary broadcaster Tom Brokaw and award-winning actor Tom Hanks were already among the ranks of its supporters. It was a natural fit for two men who have done so much to honor the personal stories of World War II, and the beginning of an enduring friendship with the Museum. Both Brokaw and Hanks have worked tirelessly throughout their careers to document the World War II story, educating millions of Americans about our shared history and strengthening the legacy of the greatest generation. During a private awards banquet, held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York on Tuesday, February 24, 2015, The National WWII Museum applauded their remarkable careers with the presentation of its American Spirit Award, an honor recognizing individuals who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to the principles that strengthen America’s freedom and democracy.
The American Spirit Award is given to those who make unselfish contributions to their community, state or nation; lead by example; exhibit the highest standards of integrity, discipline and initiative; and exemplify core values that were critical to the Allied war effort – teamwork, optimism, loyalty, courage and sacrifice.
“In addition to being leaders in their fields, Tom Brokaw and Tom Hanks have served as dedicated public historians, using their respective platforms to bring the stories of World War II to new generations,” said Museum President and CEO Gordon “Nick” Mueller, PhD. “They have also been integral to the growth of this Museum and fulfillment of our educational mission.”
Brokaw at The National WWII Museum’s Road to Berlin Opening Gala in December 2014.
Well known from his career in broadcast journalism, in 1998 Tom Brokaw became a best-selling author with the publication of “The Greatest Generation.” Inspired by the mountain of mail he received from his first book, Brokaw published “The Greatest Generation Speaks” in 1999. Brokaw was the only network evening news anchor to report from Normandy, France, during the D-Day 60th Anniversary ceremonies in June 2004. He returned to Normandy for the 70th anniversary in June 2014, leading a Museum delegation to the ceremonies and events and reporting on behalf of NBC. Brokaw has been in attendance at nearly every major building opening at The National WWII Museum since 2000 and has been a champion for the Museum in the media and in the fundraising arena.
Tom Hanks has lent his tremendous acting, directing, producing, and voice talents to an array of WWII-focused projects over the last two decades. He earned his fourth Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for “Saving Private Ryan,” garnered praise and awards for the miniseries “Band of Brothers,” helped narrate the Ken Burns documentary “The War,” and reunited with Steven Spielberg for the HBO miniseries “The Pacific.” Hanks also offered an iconic performance in the Home Front-focused “A League of Their Own.” In 2009, The National WWII Museum debuted the exclusive 4D film “Beyond All Boundaries,” with Hanks serving as executive producer and narrator. Offscreen, he played an active role in the creation of The National WWII Memorial and, as a champion for The National WWII Museum, has been instrumental in achieving its goal to become the preeminent museum on World War II.
“Without the efforts of these two men,” said Mueller, “this Museum might not have happened. Their contributions have been that important to our institution.”
Hanks serving food to the troops at The National WWII Museum’s Solomon Victory Theater opening in 2009.
“From the beginning I was inspired by the determination of the late Stephen Ambrose and Nick Mueller to erect a permanent tribute to honor the men and women I wrote about in “The Greatest Generation,” said Brokaw. “The dreams and determination of these two historians have given that generation and the world an enduring reminder of the military genius, personal sacrifice and political will required to win the greatest war in the history of mankind. It’s an honor to have played a small part in their magnificent effort.”
During the ceremony in New York, NBC’s Lester Holt emceed the event as a taste of New Orleans was brought to the stage with entertainment by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Throughout the evening, proceeds were raised to benefit the Museum’s Brokaw-Hanks Fund for Digital Access. This fund supports digitization of The National WWII Museum’s vast and growing collection of artifacts, archival materials, images and oral histories – providing invaluable access to these resources for teachers, students and others interested in the study of World War II.
Strengthening online access broadens the Museum’s reach to individuals who may never visit the campus while honoring the distinctive contributions of Tom Brokaw and Tom Hanks to the Museum and to America’s memory of World War II – both in words and film. The Museum’s growing digital archive can be seen at ww2online.org.
Plutonium, the element used to power the Fat Man bombs used for the test at Trinity and for the
This metal ring is an alloy of plutonium in a form that is used in nuclear warheads.
bombing of Nagasaki, was discovered on February 23rd, 1943. A group of scientists at UC Berkeley bombarded uranium with deuterons (the nucleus of a heavy hydrogen isotope, made up of a proton and a neutron), and observed that it had an atomic number of 94 and was chemically distinct from uranium. This team, led by Glenn Seaborg, sent a research paper describing their investigation to a journal, but publication was delayed until after World War II for security reasons. Theoretical calculations by researchers at the Cavendish Laboratory in England indicated that plutonium (Pu in the periodic table) could be used for powerful critical nuclear reactions, and would be produced as a by-product in uranium reactors.
Much of the Manhattan Project’s efforts were to create plutonium, and to separate it from uranium. It did prove to be a better source of fission energy than uranium. Today’s nuclear weapons have plutonium cores.
Plutonium is very reactive, and in air will form a flaky substance that spontaneously ignites. Because it is so reactive it is toxic, and unlike uranium accumulates in bones. These properties make it much more dangerous than uranium.
This is the plutonium based power module of the Mars Rover.
239Pu is the isotope used primarily for fission. It has a half-life of about 24,000 years. 238Pu has an extremely high decay heat, and so is often used to produce special generators that use heat to power satellites and space probes. It has a half-life of about 88 years. 240Pu has a high spontaneous fission rate, and so is not suited for weapons use. There are two other isotopes of plutonium (241Pu and 242Pu) that mostly present radiation hazards in waste. All isotopes decay to an isotope of uranium but 241Pu (becomes an isotope of americium).
As an expert in plutonium, Seaborg was placed on leave from Berkeley and sent to work at the
A young Glenn Seaborg posing in front of a Periodic Table showing gaps which would eventually be filled with elements he would help discover.
ChicagoMetallurgical Laboratory (a secret part of the Manhattan Project) for the duration of the war. The discovery of plutonium was only a small part of his illustrious career. He was involved in the discovery of several other elements, became chancellor at UC Berkeley, was chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commision, and served on the presidential commission that produced the famous Nation at Risk report on the failings of educational policy in the US. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1951 and died in 1999.
The B-25 Mitchell hanging in the Museum’s US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.
World War II was characterized by an extraordinary spirit of teamwork, sacrifice and ingenuity demonstrated by men and women on the battlefront and on the Home Front. One of the crowning achievements of the war was America’s legendary production of airplanes, artillery, tanks, and other equipment that helped to fuel victory in World War II. The US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center showcases macro artifacts and features advanced interactive exhibits designed to help visitors understand American wartime ingenuity at its finest. Two highlights of the US Freedom Pavilion is the B-25 Mitchell, an iconic aircraft of World War II known as one of the greatest American bomber planes, and the M3A1 Stuart Tank, a 4-man crew light tank introduced in 1942 and used by the US Army in both the European and Pacific Theaters.
View looking over unto a B-25 Mitchell bomber in flight. Location unknown. 1943-45. Gift of Charles Szumigala, from the collection of The National WWII Museum.
North American B-25 Mitchell
The B-25 bomber gained fame in the daring April 1942 Doolittle Raid on the Japanese Home Islands. Lt. Col. James Doolittle and fellow airmen stunned the Japanese military by penetrating some of the world’s more formidable air defenses, dropping bombs close to the Emperor’s Palace. The Doolittle Raid’s B-25s were the only aircraft to bomb Tokyo until 1944, when B-29 Superfortresses began operating from the Marianas Islands. The B-25 bomber served in every theater of the war, excelling in multiple roles, chiefly as a ground-attack aircraft later in the war. It is the only aircraft in Air Force history to be named after a man, General Billy Mitchell, an early advocate for the strategic importance of air power.
The Museum’s B-25 carries the markings of The 490th Bombardment Squadron known as the “Burma Bridge Busters.” Such planes used innovative bombing techniques to destroy bridges that the Japanese needed to send supplies and reinforcements into Burma. This B-25J “gunship” could also bring 14 forward-firing .50 caliber machine guns to bear on Japanese anti-aircraft defenses that were concentrated around the bridges of Burma. Meanwhile the B-25’s 3,000 lbs. of bombs were dropped on the bridge.
M3A1 Stuart Tank
The US Army began development of a light tank in the early 1930s. After a number of models which progressively increased armor and fire power, the M3 series was initiated in July 1940. Provided to British forces as part of the Lend-Lease agreement, the M3 first saw combat with British forces in North Africa in November 1941. The British found the M3 to be under-gunned, but were so pleased with its mechanical performance they nicknamed it “Honey.”
Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
The M3 saw service with American forces in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded in December 1941. Feedback from these actions led to improvements incorporated in the M3A1, which began production in May 1942, including the addition of a gyro stabilizer for the 37mm main gun and a power traverse for the turret. The addition of the power traverse required the turret to be fitted with a basket or floor which rotated with the turret. This was the first American tank to include such features.
The M3A1 also saw service with American forces during the North African Campaign. The 37mm main gun which had proved inadequate for British forces a year before was now even more ineffective since German armor had continued to upgrade. One veteran noted, “Popcorn balls thrown by Little Bo Peep would have been just as effective” as the 37mm against German armor. Following the 1st Battalion, 13th Armored Regiment’s participation in the Battle of Kasserine Pass, the Stuart tank was relegated to the role of reconnaissance and flank security. The M3 and its successor, the M5, continued to be utilized in Europe through the end of the war.
Although poorly suited to tank warfare in Europe, the Stuart tank proved effective in the Pacific. In New Guinea and the Solomons, the Stuart served in an infantry support role. Although the 37mm gun was not ideal, the small Stuart was much more practical for jungle warfare than the much larger and heavier Sherman that replaced it in late 1943.
In our museum’s collection (2006.232) is a rusty barrel which spent decades at the bottom of a cold Norwegian lake before being recovered and donated in a ceremony at the Inaugural International Conference on World War II.
What makes this rusty barrel special, and how did it end up at the bottom of that lake? It held heavy water, and was being transported to Germany from a plant in occupied Norway, when the boat carrying it was sunk by resistance forces supported by the allies.
What is heavy water, and why is it important enough for it to be an object of sabotage? Let’s examine a timely analogy.
Today is Tuesday. There are lots of Tuesdays, the second weekday of the week. Some Tuesdays are special. The first Tuesday of November in a leap year isthe occasion of Presidential elections in the United States. One Tuesday of every year is very special in New Orleans and some other parts of the world, as it is designated Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday). So there are lots of Tuesdays, most common, and a few with a small peculiar characteristic that puts them in a group as a kind of Tuesday. So some Tuesdays are different than other Tuesdays, but still Tuesdays nonetheless. Here in New Orleans, 2% of Tuesdays are Mardi Gras, and about 0.5% of Tuesdays are presidential election days.
The same is true of chemical elements. Elements are arranged in the periodic table according to their structure. What makes one element different from others is the number of protons in its nucleus. A quick examination of a periodic table of the elements shows that while there are only 7 days of the week, there are 118 elements. But just like some Tuesdays are special, some atoms of an element are special too.
For example, let’s talk about uranium. Uranium is an element with a very large nucleus. It has 92 protons in its nucleus. All atoms with 92 protons are uranium. Atoms will normally have as many electrons as protons, but they can gain or lose electrons and still be the same elements (atoms that have gained or lost electrons have a charge and are called ions). The last component of the structure of an atom is a neutron. Neutrons are in the nucleus with the protons. In elements the number of neutrons tends to increase along with the number of protons. Uranium usually has 143 neutrons (99.3% of the time). Sometimes it has 146 neutrons (0.7% of the time). The atomic weight of an atom is equal to the number of neutrons and protons it has, so these two forms of uranium have atomic weights of 235 and 238, respectively. Forms of elements that differ in the number of neutrons in their nucleus are called isotopes. Isotopes of an element are indicated by their atomic weight. So those two elements of uranium are called 235U and 238U.
Many elements have isotopes. Carbon normally has an atomic weight of 12 (12C), but has an isotope of 14C (used in radiocarbon dating). Oxygen is typically in the form of 16O but an isotope 18O is used in paleoclimatology to estimate past temperatures. Some isotopes are radioactive, like 14C and 238U, but others like 18O are not. Radioactive isotopes break down into other elements and give off energy at a constant rate (14C has a half life of 5730 years, and 238U of 4.5 billion years). Not all radioactive isotopes are dangerous (14C gives off very little energy, and 238U gives off a whole lot).
So you could say that Mardi Gras is an isotope of Tuesdays. It has more mass than most Tuesdays, primarily because of the extra king cake and beads. Perhaps we should designate it as Mardi GrasTuesday.
That brings us to heavy water. A water molecule is formed when two hydrogen atoms are bonded to one oxygen atom. Hydrogen is the simplest element. Most hydrogens have one proton and one electron. An isotope of hydrogen has a proton and a neutron in the nucleus (2H, also called deuterium). Water made from this isotope of hydrogen is called heavy water.
The German effort to develop nuclear weapons used a nuclear reactor design that required heavy water. A nuclear reactor uses a sustained and controlled nuclear chain reaction. To control the reaction the reactor has to have a substance that absorbs neutrons. The reactors also produce a great deal of heat and so require a coolant (nuclear electrical generation plants use the heat from the reactor to make steam). In the reactors designed by German scientists in the 1940s heavy water was used to absorb neutrons and cool the reactor. The reactors designed by Enrico Fermi and other scientists in the Manhattan project used graphite to absorb neutrons and normal water for coolant.
Today heavy water is used in reactors that depend on unenriched uranium. Enriched uranium has a higher concentration of 238U. They tend to produce more plutonium and tritium as byproducts than other reactors. Since plutonium is key to most contemporary nuclear weapons, these kinds of plants are often used to produce weapons material.
In 1934 a Norwegian plant began producing fertilizer and heavy water as a byproduct. The plant used electrolysis to create ammonia. Electrolysis can also be used to separate heavy water from from typical water. German nuclear scientists had been unsuccessful at using graphite in their plants (they had unknowingly used impure graphite), and so were in search of heavy water. Before the war started French intelligence was trying to remove the heavy water in Norway from German access. After Germany took over both France and Norway the allies attempted to destroy the plant in late 1942. Air attacks on the plant convinced the Germans to move the operation to the homeland. That’s when the resistance made its strike.
Sybil Chandler, a WAC from Baton Rouge, Louisiana served in the Philippines from October 1944 to October 1945. One of the highlights of her time there was a visit and concert by composer Irving Berlin. After the war, she tried in vain to return to civilian employment, but nothing compared to Army life. She later said about her service “On March 1, 1967 I retired from the US Army, after serving 20 years, 13 days and 6 hours! Enjoyed every minute.” Tucker saved this card from Valentine’s Day 1945. She was definitely a girl in the service!
Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!
Tomorrow is February 14, and if you haven’t been living under a rock your entire life, you know that means Valentine’s Day. For some of us, this holiday is filled with chocolates, roses, and sweet romance. For others, it is a day to wallow in our loneliness, finding solace at the bottom of a wine glass or five. This year, the World War II Museum reminds you that it could always be worse…
During World War II, letters were an extremely valuable form of communication between soldiers and their loved ones back home. Nothing could boost the morale of servicemen quite like hearing from darling Judy or dearest Jane during the grueling months of combat overseas. And nothing could be as devastating as Judy or Jane deciding not to await your return, but rather to move on (often) with a different man. These letters became known as “Dear John letters” during World War II. When a letter began with an abrupt “Dear John” instead of the usual “My dearest Johnny,” the content to follow was never promising.
The Warren Dale Brown Collection, Gift of Jim Simpson from the collection of The National WWII Museum.
In spite of the devastating letters, soldiers were forced to push on and finish the war, battling both their enemies and a broken heart. So, this year – keep Valentine’s Day in perspective. Though you might be celebrating solo, remember all the Johns who had it a lot worse and drink to them.
Posted by Laurel Taylor, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at the World War II Museum
In 1945, Mardi Gras was on Tuesday, February 13th. It was the last Mardi Gras during which official, wide-scale celebrations were cancelled due to WWII.
Smaller celebrations happened both in New Orleans, and by celebrants scattered across the globe. One such celebration was documented by members of the US Army 24th General Hospital stationed in Italy. Almost all members of this hospital, including were graduates of or medical staff at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The 24th General Hospital embarked in August 1943 for posts overseas, operating first out of North Africa and then, in Florence, Italy, where they celebrated Mardi Gras 1945.
In addition to masquerading, the hospital staff performed a “parody in pantomime” (think Chaplin’s The Great Dictator) celebrating the Third Anniversary Mardi Gras Carnival of the Mystic Krewe of Snafu. The play was co-written by Captain Weiss and the cast were various members of the 24th General Hospital. Characters included Mussolini (“Benito the man who is Finito”), multiple Hitlers, Hirohito (“the Imperial Mosquito”), the Roosevelts, Chiang Kai-shek and wife, Churchill, Stalin and the Court of Snafu. The skit is introduced as:
“The Axis gets axed and exits in two acts or King Snafu
King Snafu and his Merry Krewe
Pull the Big Four out of an Awful Stewe”
Images from the Thomas Weiss collection can be seen online here in our Digital Collections. For more on Wartime Carnival see our flickr set and a previous blog post. “Long Live SNAFU, the King of Merriment!”
February and March mark the 70th anniversary of one of bloodiest battles in Marine Corps History: Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima was of strategic importance in the Pacific campaign, as a potential base for bombers under duress in the long journey to or from raids on the Japanese home islands. The cost to take the 2 mile wide by 4 mile long island was high: over 24,000 American casualties. In fact, Iwo Jima was the only battle in the Pacific war where American casualties outnumbered Japanese. Through the sacrifices of our troops on the island and at sea surrounding the rock, the hard fought and eventual victory saved the lives of 24,000 US Airmen during emergency landings. During the next two months, the Museum will host a student webinar and an adult webinar series to commemorate the battle and those who fought tirelessly to take the “sulphur island.”
There’s a program perfect for students and life-long learners alike, showcasing the Museum’s collection and staff. Some webinars will even feature artifacts not on view to the public and connect with partner institutions to learn about their Iwo Jima story. All you need to access these live webinars is a computer with a high speed internet connection.
STUDENT WEBINAR Now All Together: The 70th Anniversary of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising
Featuring the National Museum of the Marine Corps
Monday, February 23, 2015
12:00PM – 1:00PM CT
On the exact date of the 70th anniversary of the historic flag raising, uncover the myths, history, and significance of one of the most iconic and powerful photographs of WWII. Students will learn about the importance of the battle for Iwo Jima and how the flag raising occurred not just once, but twice atop Mount Suribachi. Hear first-hand accounts from Marines who participated in the bloody 5-week battle and even a photographer who witnessed those dramatic few seconds that would turn into the most inspiring image of the war. Students will also travel to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia to explore some of their most important artifacts, the flags from Mt. Suribachi, and learn about their mission share the stories of the Marine Corps on Iwo Jima for many generations to come.
WOUNDED MARINES ARE HELPED TO AN AIR STATION BY NAVY MEDICAL CORPSMAN AND FELLOW MARINES ON IWO JIMA IN FEBRUARY 1945. U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National World War II Museum.
LANDING CRAFT SMASH ASHORE AT IWO JIMA ON 19 FEBRUARY 1945.U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National World War II Museum.
FLIGHT NURSE AIDS WOUNDED ON IWO JIMA BATTLEFIELD ON 6 MARCH 1945. U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National World War II Museum.
SOLDIER WITH FLAME-THROWER IS SUPPORTED BY MARINE RIFLEMEN ON IWO JIMA IN FEBRUARY 1945. U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National World War II Museum.
A WAVE OF CHARGING FOURTH DIVISION MARINES BEGINS AN ATTACK FROM THE BEACH AT IWO JIMA ON D-DAY, 19 FEBRUARY 1945. U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National World War II Museum.
U. S. NAVY CARRIER-BASED GRUMMAN FIGHTER PLANES SWOOP DOWN TO ATTACK JAPANESE INSTALLATION ON IWO JIMA ON 21 FEBRUARY 1945. U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National World War II Museum.
Hershel "Woody" Williams, Medal of Honor recipient, Iwo Jima.
ADULT LEARNING WEBINAR SERIES: THE 70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF IWO JIMA Cost: Per program: $10 for non members; free for members
Purchase the package of three programs and receive a $10 discount!
Hershel “Woody” Williams, Medal of Honor recipient, Iwo Jima.
Part One: Landings and Flag Raising—Thursday, February 26th at 12:00pm CT
Hear harrowing accounts of the initial days on the island, from the landings of the Marine divisions on the black volcanic sand to scaling Mount Suribachi. Discover the surprising story of two flag raisings, and how the image snapped by Joe Rosenthal became one of the most famous and recognizable photographs in American history.
Part Two: Valor and Sacrifice—Thursday, March 12th at 12:00 pm CT
Learn about the impregnable Japanese fortifications, caves, and tunnels and the slow capture of the critical airfields on the central and northern parts of the island. Explore the important role of the Navy and the American Indian code talkers in the advance of the battle through the Museum’s collection and expert staff. Examine the Marine’s bloody pursuit of the Japanese and eventual overtaking of the area known as the “meat grinder.”
Part Three: Victory and Legacy—Thursday, March 26th at 12:00 pm CT
Explore the final phases of the operation, and the last, desperate banzai attempts of the Japanese army to attack the battle-worn Marines. Learn about the importance of the island in the overall bombing strategy for the remainder of the war and why the Marines on Iwo Jima will always be remembered for exhibiting “uncommon valor” as a “common virtue.”
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.