January 28, 2009
NOT exactly Black History, but American nonetheless...
The Marine that went to war
contributed by our friend Thomas Brennen
He was born on January 12, 1923.
He died on January 24, 1955.
Although both of those dates are close to the birth date of Martin Luther King and the inauguration date of the President of the United States, there are very few people in this great country of ours that will take note of them.
He was a hero to the American people, but all he really wanted was to live a simple life in the state that he was born in.
Like both Martin Luther King and Barack Obama, he would be considered a minority in a country where that term no longer has any meaning, since those who are of a minority race will soon be the majority of our population.
Like all of us, he achieved successes that he would have thought to be impossible at an earlier age.
Like all of us, he had flaws.
His story is immortalized in both song and film, and the President of the United States heaped praise on him, but none of that brought him any joy.
His name was Ira Hayes.
Hayes is buried in Section 34 of Arlington National Cemetery. At the funeral, fellow flag-raiser Rene Gagnon said of him: "Let's say he had a little dream in his heart that someday the Indian would be like the white man — be able to walk all over the United States."