NEWINGTON – Support Our Survivors of Iwo Jima, a veterans organization in the region, is inviting the central Connecticut community to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima later this month.
Support Our Survivors of Iwo Jima is organizing an event Feb. 23 to educate people about the battle, honor local veterans and share biographies of soldiers involved. Families of several veterans will be on hand with memorabilia and stories about their relatives.
“This year we want to include more stories of the men that fought in the battle,” said event organizer Marianne Mihalyo.
Two notable World War II veterans from New Britain who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima, Joe Roman and Stanley Dabrowski, will be featured during the event. Both men passed away recently.
The program will be capped off with a presentation about the life of Samuel Bernstein, a Battle of Iwo Jima survivor, by his son Howie Bernstein. Howie Bernstein will be presenting the documentary based on his father, “In the Shadow of Suribachi – Sammy’s Story.”
“It’s such a tremendous and powerful documentary, we’re happy to be able to show it,” Mihalyo said.
Feb. 19, 1945, marks the day American servicemen landed on the shores of Iwo Jima to fight what would become the bloodiest battle in Marine history. On Feb. 23, the fifth day of battle, one of the most historic events of World War II took place – the 48-star American flag was raised on Japanese soil for the first time atop Mt. Suribachi. Joe Rosenthal’s photograph of the second, larger flag to be raised that day became an iconic image and one of the most recognized symbols of America’s contributions in WWII.
Fifty years after that flag was raised, Survivors of the Battle of Iwo Jima, led by Dr. George Gentile of Newington, were successful in building the only flag-raising monument of its kind right here in Connecticut on the New Britain/Newington town line. The monument was built as a tribute to their 6,821 comrades who died during that battle, including the 100 men from Connecticut whose names are inscribed on it.
The Support Our Survivors of Iwo Jima is an all-volunteer organization that is dedicated to ensuring that the legacy of all World War II Veterans lives on. The organization created the Iwo Jima/World War II Traveling Museum and hosts programs to educate people about the history of the battle and war. Funding for this program is provided by the Support Our Survivors of Iwo Jima Educational Program Fund.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Lucy Robbins Wells Library. 95 Cedar Street. Newington. Any changes for the event due to weather will be posted on the “Support our Survivors of Iwo Jima” Facebook page.
“What we’re talking about and what we’re showing is not something you can see every day,” Mihalyo said.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.