US veterans return to Iwo Jima for 70th anniversary

    Dozens of aging U.S. veterans have gathered on the tiny, barren island of Iwo Jima to mark one of the bloodiest and most iconic battles of World War II 70 years ago.

    The vets, many in the early 90s and some in wheelchairs, toured the black sand beaches where they invaded the deeply dug-in forces of the island’s Japanese defenders.

    They were bused to the top of Mount Suribachi, an active volcano, where an Associated Press photo of the raising of the U.S. flag while the battle was still raging became a potent symbol of hope and valor to the war-weary public back home that was growing increasingly disillusioned with the seemingly unending battle in the Pacific.

    About 36 days of battle left nearly 7,000 Marines dead and 20,000 wounded.

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