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75 years later, Iwo Jima Marines, sailors recall the bloody battle

Addo Bonetti of Torrington told the story of a sergeant’s slow death 75 years ago on the island of Iwo Jima.

Frank Peters of Windsor recalled four Marines who were gone in an instant, and John Ray of Bloomfield recalled a young officer paralyzed by the horrors he witnessed on the bomb-blasted rock.

The three U.S. Marine Corps veterans are among the shrinking band of Iwo Jima survivors in the state and nation. The World War II battle claimed 6,821 American dead, including 100 Connecticut men, and was burned into the nation’s memory by the image of valor and victory captured in the flag raising atop Mount Suribachi.

To mark the battle’s 75th anniversary, the Connecticut-based Iwo Jima Survivors Association has organized events on Feb. 22 and 23. Rear Admiral Gregory N. Todd, chaplain of the Marine Corps, is among the special guests invited to the Feb. 23 ceremony at the Iwo Jima Memorial in New Britain.

Connecticut has a particularly close tie to the battle’s survivors. State veterans raised money for a statue of the flag-raising, which was installed in New Britain in 1995. Bearing the names of the Connecticut men who were killed, the memorial’s statue is similar to the better-known U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Virginia.

Anniversary events are to include a display of battle memorabilia, showings of documentary films and a gathering that offers a chance to speak with Iwo Jima survivors. The Newington Fire Department, Central Connecticut State University and other organizations are helping to make this the biggest survivors’ reunion in years, event organizers said.

D-Day, Feb. 19, 1945

Harry Rosenfeld, 95, of West Hartford, was a sailor aboard the USS Nevada, which was salvaged after sustaining heavy damage in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The battleship was among hundreds of U.S. Navy …read more

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