Posted by: leospurr | June 20, 2009

The Sands of Iwo Jima

The smell of sulfur doesn’t really hit you until you reach the top of Mt. Surbachi.  While mopping the sweat pouring off my face and noticing the blisters forming on my feet from the scorching heat and slippery gravel road, I tried to imagine the misery my forefathers endured during one of the bloodiest battles of WWII during Feb-Mar 1945.  Of course, I was only carrying a backpack with a lunch, and not enough water. I didn’t have tens of pounds of ammunition, weapons, nor provisions. I didn’t have anyone shooting at me, and I was fairly certain I would see my family again by night’s end. You see, this week, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the tiny island of Iwo Jima – about a three hour C-12 flight from Tokyo.  

You’ve heard stories of Iwo Jima, you’ve seen the movies.  Neither the stories nor the movies compare to actually walking that hallowed ground, and settling your mind to sense the stories that each grain of volcanic ash sand has to tell.  The Japanese know this island as “Iwo To”, a still active volcano.  Rather than try to put into words the emotions that ran through me, I will simply post some pictures.  I will leave you, however, with something that continued to overwhelm me during my few hours on a very small portion of the island – “death would have been a welcome reprieve from the daily hell these courageous young men (on both sides of the gun barrel) must have been living.” 

I have a couple of other more uplifting posts to catch up with – my mom has been here for two weeks, I spent a week on a research trip to Australia, the boys have had their last week of school, I’m in escrow on a home in Burke, VA, we visited a phenomenol onsen in Hakone, and we have just one more week left together in Japan. I cannot believe it has flown by so quickly. Thank you for taking this ride with us! I’m not quite done, and will get to a few other posts before officially closing out Leospurr!



  1. Glad you are still bloggging – it has more depth than you can do on facebook. I assume you can archive your blog somehow – don’t lose all those great thoughts!

    Say hi to your mom for us. I have my eye surgery on Thursday, so the timing for a trip to Japan just wan’t in the works. Our loss.

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