I am a Marine who was on active duty from 1980-1984 although this was before my time I think it is the greatest monument of all. The flag that is flying has 48 stars just like the original flag and sand and stones from IWO JIMA. The most impressive thing is that is was built by the survivors. I visit this monument at least once a month and it brings tears to my eyes every time I'm there.
The Iwo Jima Memorial in Newington is a true gem. Gary Roy, the caretaker, does a wonderful job of maintaining the property for visitors. It is an exact replica of the original, and the only Iwo Jima memorial in the country to have been built entirely by the survivors of The Battle For Iwo Jima. Located adjacent to Rt 9, it is seen by thousands of commuters, every day.
This is a beautiful monument that is well cared for by a group of dedicated volunteers. I first learned about them by seeing an announcement for an event in the newspaper. To learn that this monument was built by actual Iwo Jima survivors was astonishing! The ongoing care and maintenance, and numerous events held during each year, all done by volunteers and donations is spectacular- although many would assume that such a thing could not happen without government involvement- they are wrong! I suggest visiting the monument during one of their fine events, meet the veterans, hear their stories in their own words, admire their bravery, and most of all take note of how humble they are and what they accomplished after they returned home. Then, plan a return visit, when you are the only person there, examine the monument, read the inscriptions, walk the perimeter and read the plaques on each flag of the 100 Connecticut men who gave their lives on Iwo Jima, sit on a bench and listen to the flag in the wind, be thankful for those men who served, be thankful to live in the greatest country on the face of the earth.
As the spouse of a Marine, it is very important to share the history and meaning of Marine Service to our country. Recently we had visitors from "across the pond" and this monument was a priority visit during their stay. They were especially impressed and acknowledged the importance of learning this piece of US Marine History.
While the location of this memorial in CT is an "easy visit", we all need to share with visitors from outside our state (and local community). The people who volunteer and give of their time and treasures are true believers in our Country and our Marines.
It is such a pleasure to drive along Rt. 9 in Newington and see this beautiful monument. People don't have to go all the way to Washington, D.C. to see an authentic memorial to Iwo Jima. This monument is a lasting tribute to the brave Connecticut heroes who lost their lives in this battle. It has actual rocks from the very island they died on. I have an uncle who flew, and another who fought at that battle. This monument has wonderful events on it's grounds several times a year where the public can come and learn of the sacrifices and dedication of those from "the greatest generation" who paid for their freedom with their lives. Connecticut and New England have a true gem right in the center of this state.
I am the widow of Major General Fred Haynes, author of THE LIONS OF IWO JIMA. He was the
Operations Officer of the 28th Regiment, the unit that raised the flags.
This charity was originally founded by Dr. George Gentile...in memory of the veterans.
We were there for the original dedication.
The FOUNDATION has done a magnificent job of protecting and extending the legacy
so that these men, and their accomplishments, will never be forgotten forgotten..
The Veterans of World War II died to keep America free. We have the obligation
to keep it this way.
Bonnie Arnold Haynes
The Iwo Jima Memorial is a place I spend a lot of time at with my girlfriend and our dog. At first, I was worried that it would come off as though we were being disrespectful by bringing our dog to the memorial, but I really think the men who served in WW2 and at Iwo Jima were doing their part to ensure that people like us could continue to live feely and enjoy time together without living in fear of a horrific government like the Nazis or the modern terrorists that the world is collectively threatened by. Their bravery, honor and sacrifice truly helped ensure that we could continue to live as free people and I think about it every time I'm there, which is what I feel the purpose of a memorial is. I'm very grateful to those who built and maintain this memorial, the people who served in the battle, and the families of those who served and/or lost a loved one as a result.
Thank you for carrying in your heart the love for the men who fought this battle and those who survived and built the memorial. We do hope people who visit will act respectful. It saddens us to see cigarette and cigar butts, liquor bottles, trash and other unmentionable items thrown on the ground. The memorial and park sits on sacred ground. Ashes of our Veterans have been placed there and we do hope people respect that.
As a military veteran I found the memorial to be very moving and well done! However I was distressed to see the American Flag in poor condition being tattered and caught in the line on the flag pole. It is a discredit to the memory of one of the finest hours for our marines and the American flag to be in this condition. Does it need to wait until Memorial Day to be replaced? Remember, not only the residents of Connecticut see this monument but anyone traveling on that section of highway also sees the condition of the national ensign......
Jaquoline Legere, RM1 USN/Ret
Jaquoline, Thank you for your service and thank you for visiting the memorial. We had the flag changed shortly after you posted your comments (we were planning to already). I would like to explain a little about the flag. We try to have the flag looking good at all times. However, the winter takes its toll. First of all, the flag has to be custom made at time of order from special material (it is expensive). In addition, the flag and pole is built in a certain way to make it historically correct to the original. There is no pulley system and we have to get to the top to change it by hand. Because we have a sprinkler system, we can not bring heavy vehicles on the grass or walkway. We have to rent a special lift (>$350) or depend on the Fire Department to change it with an extra long ladder. We have to work around their schedule. Additionally, the park and memorial runs only by volunteers and on donations, no help from the state or government. We have to raise all the funds to do this and we do our best but always need more to keep functioning. To see a video of the flag being changed, go to our video. Thank you. http://youtu.be/kmgDtAvIVq8
This park is a tribute to The Greatest Generation! A visit to this well-kept park is inspiring; a look at history and a fitting tribute to all those who served on Iwo Jima and all WWII veterans. It has an influence on current day veterans as well - a Commissioning of a new Marine Corps Lieutenant happen on one visit.
Thank you for your kind comments. You bring up a good point. We welcome other military groups that would like to honor our veterans to have their ativities take place at the memorial. Just contact us ahead of time to make arrangements.
I was deeply moved to find this memorial in Connecticut when I moved here because my uncle was KIA on Iwo Jima. We cannot easily travel to Detroit to visit his grave. My father and sisters and I donated to have a brick installed in his memory, so we now have a nearby memorial site to visit. The inscriptions and engraved pictures on the monuments give a very moving tribute to those who served. The monument park is beautifully manicured and maintained -- this shows the love and care of the volunteers who work on it. The numerous moving ceremonies for veterans help the survivors and their families meet each other and keep the memories alive. I hope it will remain this way into the future, so that our children and grandchildren will understand, too.
Thank you for your heartfelt sentiment. We would love to have it remain as you have described and serve as a central area for all to visit and remember the sacrifices of our brave heroes. We are deeply grateful to the men like your uncle who gave so much so we could be free.