US veterans return to Iwo Jima for 70th anniversary.
IOTO, Japan, Jumada II 1, 1436, Mar 21, 2015, SPA -- Dozens of aging U.S. veterans, many in their early 90s and some in wheelchairs, gathered on the tiny, barren island of Iwo Jima on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of one of the bloodiest and most iconic battles of World War II.
More than 30 veterans flown in from the U.S. island territory of Guam toured the black sand beaches where they invaded the deeply dug-in forces of the island's Japanese defenders in early 1945.
They were bused to the top of Mount Suribachi, an active volcano, where an Associated Press photo of the raising of the American flag while the battle was still raging became a potent symbol of hope and valor to a war-weary public back home that was growing increasingly disillusioned with the seemingly unending battle in the Pacific.
For some of the veterans, the return to the island where many of their comrades died, and which is still inhabited only by a contingent of Japanese military troops, brought out difficult emotions.
18:52 LOCAL TIME 15:52 GMT
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