In 2007, we had the privilege of interviewing MAJ Norman T Hatch, USMC (Ret.), veteran and Academy Award winner of film shot on Tarawa
Image how disappointing it was for him to find out about this image used at Langley High School:
Thank you Sir for your thoughtful letter to the principal:
Dear Mr. Ragone, it has recently come to my attention that one of your teachers has committed a terrible error in using the iconic Iwo Jima flag raising picture that took place on the fourth day, of a vicious month long battle in the Pacific during WW II. She super imposed a McDonalds advertising logo over the flag and showing it to her class as a supposed example of the nation fighting the war for commercial purposes.
I have more than just a personal interest in this matter as I am a retired Marine major who was on Iwo Jima, as the Photographic Officer of the 5th Marine Division. I had three photographers on the top of Mt. Suribachi that day and one of them S/Sgt William H. Genaust filmed the flag raising in motion pictures that have been seen around the world. Unfortunately he was killed eight days later and never had the chance to see the effect his film had on the public.
To think that a teacher, at the high school level, would stoop to the level of spin and rhetoric and confuse her pupils about the reason and history of our efforts at Iwo Jima where over 6000 Marines, Navy and Army died and over 16,000 were wounded is unconscionable. All died in a battle against the Japanese Imperial Forces that had first attacked us at Pearl Harbor.
I am unaware of what administrative measures you have to correct such ignorance but I implore you to take immediate action to see that such things do not happen again. History should not be prostituted to prove a point. I am a strong believer in the First Amendment but I think this particular action crosses the line, especially in a school of learning!
Norman T. Hatch Major USMCR (Ret)
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