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Flags of Our Fathers Research Papers

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For those who may have otherwise missed the importance of the event or confined it to the significance of images, Bradley’s Flags of Our Fathers brings the battle of Iwo Jima painfully to life as he does the young men who bravely fought in it. From the childhood histories of six men’s lives to the grisly realities of the war they struggled to survive, the reader is swept into an era that would shape the political and military fabric of our nation.

Flags of Our Fathers

Flags of Our Fathers - Lives of Six Men

Bradley’s book would have been incomplete without the personal introspection on the lives of the six men who are the focus of this book.  Although the author’s primary objective appears to be in finding the answer to his father’s lifelong reluctance to share his experience at Iwo Jima, he weaves the lives of his father and his comrades into what he discovers is the cause of his silence. 

Bradley uses the famous photograph of the flag raising at Iwo Jima as the back drop for his multiple biography, revealing the influences and objectives that would lead each man that appeared in the photograph into battle.  Amazingly and almost deliberately, the diverse backgrounds and characters of the six men represent a perfect demographic sample of America’s enlisted men at the time.

With a personal knowledge of the histories and character of these six men alone, the challenges and implications of war on the lives of those enlisted in the armed forces becomes especially relevant. 

  • Bradley offers a profound description of the days leading up to the assault on Iwo Jima
  • Using the statements and recollections of some of the war’s survivors and a degree of artistic license, he reveals the anticipation and fear that must have been experienced as the fleet of marines approached the island. 

The Tragic Assault - Flags of Our Fathers

The description of the tragic assault and slaughter that ensued as they made their way to the beaches is even more heart wrenching, as are the details of combat that followed.  There is little question as to why, after four days of battle, the Marines were eager to scale Suribachi and place their emblem of victory. At the same time, it must have presented an environment of irony in that, despite the military significance of capturing Iwo Jima, the view from atop Suribachi would reveal the insignificance of its size and barren terrain.

Bradley reveals a truth that may not be commonly known in that the flag raising at Iwo Jima did not represent the end of the battle there. On the contrary, it would continue for many weeks longer and see the deaths of three of the marines whose participation and heroism was preserved forever in the photograph.

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