WWII Veteran: Iwo Jima

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - General Lawrence Snowden is the highest ranking survivor of the battle of Iwo Jima. An oil painting of the famous flag raising on the small Japanese island hangs in his living room. When the original picture first circulated in newspapers in 1945, the story was simple; US soldiers conquered the island. Marines stood and cheered. General Snowden remembers it differently.

“We were fighting like tigers against the well defended position of the Japanese and any man who stood up to cheer went down as a dead Marine,” said Snowden.

Snowden is 89. He’s a veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. His life might have taken a different path, but as a senior at the University of Virginia, America was attacked.

“After the Pearl Harbor incident there wasn’t any question that I was going to go to war,” said Snowden.

Snowden says the country was more supportive back then. 16 million US citizens served. Women who stayed home built bombers and tanks. Families bought war bonds. Of the 16 million that fought, only two million remain.

And WWII Veterans are dying off at a rate of nearly 900 every day.”

Snowden’s not afraid of death. He’s stared it in the face most of his life. He says he gets news monthly of the passing of a vet he knew or fought with.

“No matter what you plan to do today and no matter what you plan to do tomorrow, you have the choice to do that. And why do you have that choice? You have it because veterans did what they did when they served I the armed forces,” said Snowden.

And as people celebrate Veteran’s Day, Snowden says don’t forget the troops fighting in two current US wars. He’s says they’re just as patriotic as WWII vets. Snowden is from Virginia but has lived in Tallahassee for the past 22 years. He still travels the country to talk about WWII, Iwo Jima, and the War on Terror.


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  • by localboy Location: Tally on Nov 12, 2010 at 10:59 AM
    The General was a Captain serving as a "Company Commander" when in the Pacific Theater, so he certainly got a front lines perspective of what was going on. He has a remarkable and distinguished record of service. "Thank you" to General Snowden and to all Veterans for your service!
  • by take some time on Nov 12, 2010 at 05:13 AM
    Take the time to do a little research about this. There were actually two flags that were raised on Iwo Jima, the first wasn't considered to be large enough so a larger one was sent in from a ship and the raising of the 2nd flag is the famous photograph. Oh and by the way, the man that raised the first flag is buried in Monticello, "Boots" was killed two or three days after he raised that first flag on Iwo Jima. I think he was like 22 yrs old. God bless them all.
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Nov 12, 2010 at 02:49 AM
    General Snowden, I salute you, all fellow veterans, and the men and women serving in the armed forces now. I also salute and appreciate the families of those who serve. Perhaps they have it the hardest, as they can only imagine what their loved ones are going through. Despite what Obama has said about her, this nation IS the greatest nation that has ever existed or ever will exist. She is truly an exceptional nation. She has accomplished more in her short life than any other, and she is more generous than any nation in history. And we owe it all to the God our forefathers first came here to worship freely. Unfortunately, we have lost sight of our strength, turned away from Him to our own ways, and are sinking into mediocrity or less. God, please bless America again.
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