Just some thoughts:
If you were part of a famous happening in your country’s history and were in a picture that is considered one of the most famous in your country’s history, where would you hang it?
Only once in his lifetime did his wife and eight children hear a remark from him about the picture. We generally like pictures, and many folks like to have them taken where there is recognition and some note of importance. Now, come on, don’t be so vain, you know we do.
As I said, he only acknowledged this picture once, and he described it as one of the happiest moments in his life. He did not carry it, or even have a copy. He was asked to appear on television regarding this picture. He never did. The picture was seen by millions around the world, yet it wasn’t even in his possession. The picture appeared on magazine covers the front page of over one thousand newspapers, and it brought praise and respect from millions; and still he had not one copy. There was no question that this was him in the picture, and documents could verify such. The picture was taken with him and five of his closest friends. You would think he would want a copy, wouldn’t you? A picture of you and old friends; the kind of friends you would trust with your life. It is a picture that at one time millions would have recognized, but practically no one could name one person in the picture. I am not sure how many today would even have a clue regarding the picture and its history. American’s knowledge of its history is sadly fading.
I think about that famous picture and ask, “You don’t have one?” Me, you bet I would. Come on, you too. Sitting not far from me is a picture of four famous sports personalities, and there I am right in the middle. Also, hanging here in my office is a copy of the front page of the Wall Street Journal-- a picture and article in which I was featured. Front page. What was the Carly Simon song? “You’re So Vain?” Any picture as famous as the one this man was in, yes, all of us would have one and have it where it was most noticeable.
That’s the difference in him and us. The picture is of six boys: Rene, Harlon, Franklin, Mike, Ira and John. Less than thirty days after that picture was taken, only three of them would be alive. John, well, that was John Bradley. He was the last living member from that group. He died in 1994, living in Wisconsin. He never had a copy of that picture, maybe he didn’t need one. I bet that picture and what took place around it never left his mind. Never. Oh, the picture, it was of six Marines, one of which was John Bradley, raising the American flag on Mt.Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima in 1945 near the end of WW II.
There are some things and some people who have been in our lives and their picture never leaves us; the picture or pictures they always remain.
August 9, 2012