MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay (3/16/2012) - More than 60
years ago, five Marines and one Navy hospital corpsman planted the
American flag atop Mount Suribachi in the heat of the Battle of Iwo
Jima, and Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal captured the
March 12, 202 - The Pacific War Memorial was completed and dedicated
in 2002 aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The Pacific War Memorial
Association and many other entities contributed to the building of
the memorial. The memorial is made from the same mold that was used
for the monument at the National Iwo Jima Memorial in Newington,
Conn. Photo by Kristen Wong
The Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.
immortalized the moment in bronze, again in Newington,
Conn., at the National Iwo Jima Memorial. As the mold began
to deteriorate over time, it would be used only once more.
That last statue was made for Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
Japan and the U.S. recently commemorated the battle,
which took place from Feb. 19 to March 26, 1945.
Today also marks the 10th year since the Pacific War
Memorial was unveiled and dedicated aboard the base. The
memorial commemorates the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the
Pacific campaigns as well as the units which participated in
“It's a living memorial,” said Swede
Olson, the vice chairman of the Pacific War Memorial
Association. “There are events there almost every day, along
with visitors who photograph the memorial and read the
The Pacific War Memorial
Association is a nonprofit organization created by Alice and
Bee Clark, a couple from Kamuela, Hawaii. In 1996, the
Clarks, who originally created the Camp Tarawa Historical
Foundation, met George Gentile, the president of the
National Iwo Jima Survivors' Association. Gentile told the
Clarks that the organization wished to use the mold for
their statue in Newington, Conn., for an identical statue in
Through the efforts of the
Pacific War Memorial Association, various contributors
and several donations, the memorial, was completed in 2002.
Materials which make up the memorial such as the granite
sides, came from as far as Africa, Minnesota and Oregon.
Surrounding the Pacific War Memorial is a Walkway of
Honor. This walkway is made of bricks commemorating military
veterans. Veterans or immediate family members of veterans
are eligible to dedicate a brick, engraved with the service
member's name, which will be placed along the walkway.
Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. Actor Jim
Nabors, for instance, who was named an honorary Marine, now
has a brick on the walkway.
“The association wants to
continue to commemorate and preserve the history of U.S.
military contributions and sacrifices in the Pacific theater
in defense of freedom,” Olson said. “They continue to work
with other historical partners and have future plans to
build the Pacific War Memorial Historical Center adjacent to
the Pacific War Memorial.”
Clark recalled once seeing
a busload of Marines stop at the memorial before leaving for
a deployment. He said the Marines got out and had their
picture taken next to the memorial.
heartwarming that young Marines can have a place like that
to go and be recognized before they go into battle,” Clark
As people come off of Interstate H-3, either
driving or walking into the main gate of the base, they will
see the Pacific War Memorial, beside Kaneohe Bay. Many
people, including Marines, sailors and visitors to the base
continue to visit the memorial to hold ceremonies, and take
“I think the intended purpose of the
memorial has been realized,” Olson said. “It has become a
place for healing, memorializing, celebrating, and learning
that we will continue for future generations.”
Pacific War Memorial Association's site for more
information about the monument and getting your own
By Kristen Wong
Marine Corps Base Hawaii – Kaneohe Bay
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