Iwo Jima Day on February 19 takes place every year to mark the anniversary of a battle that lasted around five weeks. The fight between the U.S Marines and the Japanese soldiers took place amidst World War II and turned out to be quite horrific. Thousands of people on both sides lost their lives. However, in the end, the U.S Marines emerged victorious even when faced with impossible challenges. Hence, the day is officially observed in Massachusetts and unofficially marked across the United States. On this day, pay a tribute to our lost soldiers, celebrate their victory, and rejoice at how the country has emerged as a united nation.
History of Iwo Jima Day
Before Iwo Jima became known as a famous battle where many soldiers lost their lives, it was merely known as one of the Japanese Volcano Islands. However, it’s on this island that the Battle of Iwo Jima took place between the U.S. Marines and the Imperial Army of Japan. The battle took place because the island had three airfields that could provide the U.S. Marines with a strategic spot for other battles. On February 19, 1945, the American forces invaded the island and continued to fight the strong Japanese Army for five weeks.
During the battle, almost 7,000 U.S. Marines lost their lives. While the U.S. Marines were sure they would win, it took many days to defeat the Japanese because their army had adopted a new defense tactic. They utilized the mountainous landscape and jungles to set up camouflaged artillery positions, in effect, creating hundreds of hurdles for the U.S. Marines. To top it off, the beach of the island consisted of steep dunes of soft volcanic ash. Due to the sand, making a passageway for the battlefield vehicles became quite difficult.
Even with this slight hurdle that affected the timeline, the Americans were calm because they had already launched a pre-attack on the Japanese. Most importantly, when the Americans landed, they faced no rebuttal from the Japanese. This made them believe that the enemy forces had already accepted defeat. Little did they know, the lack of immediate response was simply part of General Kuribayashi’s plan. The battle of Iwo Jima is now known as one of the bloodiest events of World War II.
Iwo Jima Day timeline
300 of the Japanese men mount a final ‘banzai’ attack.
Two Japanese hiding in the island’s cave surrender.
The U.S. Marine Corps dedicate the Marine Corps War Memorial.
“Flags of Our Fathers” and ”Letters from Iwo Jima” are made by Clint Eastwood.
Iwo Jima Day FAQs
How many Japanese died in the Battle of Iwo Jima?
Around 19,000 Japanese died in the battle that lasted five weeks.
Why did America invade Iwo Jima?
America invaded Iwo Jima because they needed a place close to Japan to launch their airstrikes.
What is Iwo Jima called today?
The Japanese island of Iwo Jima has been renamed Iwo.
How to Observe Iwo Jima Day
Visit a memorial
On this day, visit a memorial to pay a tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives so the people of America can live in peace.
Revive the history
Revive the history of the day by showcasing a documentary on a projector, or by posting about the battle on social media.
Celebrate the soldiers
Celebrate the war heroes who lost their lives during the battle by digging up the history and looking up the names of the soldiers.
5 Interesting Facts About Iwo Jima
The number of combatants at the battle
There were 70,000 U.S. combatants against roughly 20,000 Japanese defenders.
The Japanese defense strategy
Their defense strategy included the construction of 11 miles of fortified tunnels connecting 1,500 rooms.
Those who had a critical role
The Navajo code talkers were selected by the Marine Corps to assign marine tactics and keywords to Navajo phrases.
Medal of Honors
After the battle, two U.S. Marines and five members of the U.S. Navy were awarded medals.
The most effective weapon of the U.S. commanders
The M2 flamethrower was a useful weapon to clear out reinforced positions.
Why Iwo Jima Day is Important
It’s a look into the past
The day is critical to give an analysis of the past and reveal the events that led to the historic battle between the Americans and the Japanese.
It speaks about war heroes
The day speaks about the war heroes that fought with great strength to secure a win for the U.S. Marines.
It emphasizes why war is bad
Since a lot of people died during the battle of Iwo Jima, the day also serves as a reminder of the consequences of war.
Iwo Jima Day dates