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How precious our freedoms and lives are

By Staff | Feb 23, 2011

To the editor,

It was February 23, 1945. Sixty-six years ago, Marines set out to take a strategic piece of land during World War II. Iwo Jima marked a critical point in the war for the Pacific.

Growing up, I heard stories of those who fought then. An uncle of mine fell on the black sands while wearing the Marine Corps uniform. He never came home, but his memory did.

On Sunday morning, Feb 20, 2011, my daughter and I attended the 66th Anniversary of the flag raising atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. I was in full Marine Corps dress blues. Many other Marines were also.

I am very proud of the rich traditions my Marine Corps family has, but none so more than today. I stood in the presence of many men who fought and lived to tell the tale of Iwo Jima.

As “Taps” echoed around Veterans Park, it reminded me of the sacrifices so many made for us to live our lives in freedom. Nearly 30,000 who fought and died on those shores believed in the American way. Never having known me (as even my mother wasn’t born yet), those brave souls gave their life so that I and my children could live ours.

I dedicated my life to protecting those freedoms. I served two tours in the Marine Corps and later over a decade with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Let me remind everyone how precious our freedoms and lives are. Take a moment to listen to the stories these champions have to tell.

Today, as I spoke with Naval fighter pilot, he told me of his battles in the air over Iwo Jima. I realized that before me was a living piece of American history. I was proud and honored to have met the man.

To all who served, I render to you a sharp, crisp and well-earned salute! Thank you for your service.

Lee Bushong

Lehigh Acres