Posted: May 30, 2011 6:39 PM by Maddie Garrett
Updated: May 30, 2011 6:46 PM
Every year fewer and fewer World War Two veterans celebrate Memorial Day. For one Acadiana Marine, this was his last chance to pay his respects to a memorial in Washington D.C. that is very personal to him.
This Memorial Day weekend was bittersweet for World War Two veteran Earl Flatt. After visiting the National WWII Memorial, then a somber trip to the Arlington National Cemetery, the group of soldiers, marines and sailors made their way to the Iwojima Memorial. It was a personal visit for Flatt
"These other two that raised the second flag, they were paratrooper brothers," said Flatt.
These aren't just faces on a monument, but the faces of his close friends from his time as a marine in World War Two.
"We didn't know it was going to make history, we thought we could go home the next day, get on the ship and go home," said Flatt.
But they didn't go home and he lost many comrades in Japan in the following days.
"I see that flag almost every day in my mind. I think of my brothers that died at least every other day in my mind; that died so we could be here today," he said.
For this veteran, the red, white and blue weighs heavy on his heart every single day. But perhaps more so last Saturday, as he gazed upon it from our nation's capitol.
"It signifies that the flag is still there, it signifies that the flag represents freedom, it signifies that it represents the United States, the greatest country the world has ever known," said Flatt.
As the number of surviving World War Two veterans dwindles, Flatt knows this will most likely be his last trip to one of the most sacred places in his heart.
"It's the monument that I respect the most, it doesn't belong to any body, it belongs to the Marine Corps and all marines, and all people that love freedom," said Flatt.