On the morning of February 19, 1945, the fourth and fifth divisions of the United States Marines invaded Iwo Jima after a 72-hour bombardment.
Four days later, the men of the 28th regiment of the fifth division captured Mt. Suribachi. Five Marines and a Navy corpsman planted the U.S. flag in what would become one of the most inspiring and motivating photographs of the war.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the statue of the famous photograph that would be called, “the Marine Corps War Memorial.” The sole inscription on the memorial is, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue,” and was said by Admiral Chester Nimitz of the Marines who fought and died to take the island from the Japanese.
The memorial, which cost $650,000, was paid for by U.S. Marines. No public money was used for the memorial or its construction.
When our son, Scott, completed his Marine basic training at Parris Island, S.C., we noticed there was a replica of this memorial near the parade ground where he graduated.
When next we worship, we will commemorate the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins. His valor was, indeed, uncommon because he faced terrible, undeserved humiliation and pain for our sins. We received from his sacrifice the forgiveness of our sins and the avoidance of eternal suffering and separation from God.
What wondrous love was there in the death of our Lord on the cross! There is no way in which we could ever merit such love and the blessings of redemption. He suffered and died because he created us and loved us.
It is fitting that the people of the U.S. remember the suffering and death of Marines for our freedom. But, even more so, it is fitting to remember the love our Lord had shown dying for us.
As we partake of the bread and fruit of the vine on the Lord’s Day, let our hearts be filled with thanksgiving and love for the Savior who died to set us free from sin. Let us be mindful of the memorial we participate in on that special day (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).