20th Century Club hears report on Iwo Jima at meeting

The recent meeting of the 20th Century Club was held at the home of Beverly Warren, with Norma Caldwell serving as co-hostess.

The meeting was called to order by Warren with the reading of the collect. Roll was called by Linda Minyard.

Caldwell reported that May 15th had been reserved for the May luncheon at Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center. After discussion it was decided to try and change this date to May. 13.

As there was no other business the meeting was turned over to Peggie Howard who gave a report on Iwo Jima, an island of the Japanese Volcano Island chain known as the Bonin Islands. The island has an approximate area of 8 square miles. It was discovered by Spanish sailor, Bernardo de la Torre, who named it Sufre Island. Even before the beginning of World War II, there was a garrison of the Imperial Japanese Navy at the southern part of Iwo Jima.

Throughout 1944, Japan conducted a massive military build-up on Iwo Jima in anticipation of a U.S. invasion. The island’s civilian population was forcibly evacuated and no civilians have permanently settled on the island since.

The invasion of Iwo Jima began on Feb. 19, 1945. The battle was a major initiative of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. The Marine invasion was charged with the mission of capturing the airfields on the island. Once the bases were captured, they could be of use on the impending invasion of the Japanese mainland. The battle was marked by some of the fieriest fighting of the war. Of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers present at the beginning of the battle, over 19,000 were killed and only 1,083 taken prisoners.

According to the U.S. Navy, the 36-day Iwo Jima assault resulted in more than 18,070 Americans wounded, including 6,800 dead. What the battle did show the Americans was how far the Japanese would go to defend their country — a decision that was to influence the use of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The U.S. military occupied Iwo Jima until 1968, when it was returned to Japan.

After the report the ladies enjoyed a time of fellowship and dessert.