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Product Description

During WW2, 17-year-old Ira Hamilton Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona, enlists in the Marine Corps. During boot camp at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, Ira strikes up a strong and long-lasting friendship with fellow marine, Jim Sorenson. Shipped to the Pacific Theatre of Operations, the two marines fight on Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima. They are among the six marines who raise the U.S. flag on Suribachi. Soon afterwards, Sorenson is killed by enemy fire in front of a stunned Ira. Later on, the surviving three marines who helped raise the flag at Iwo Jima are ordered back to the USA to participate in a war bond drive. They tour the country, surrounded by the mass-media and the adoring crowds. They participate at rallies, meetings, media-events and parades. They are asked to make public speeches to persuade the citizens to buy war bonds. However, heartbroken over his friend's death, Ira often turns to booze to give himself the courage to continue. His drinking worsens and he is sent back to his unit at the front lines. After the war his fame and notoriety makes it impossible to lead a normal life of anonymity. Many people, organizations, charities, causes and events ask for his participation, as a War Hero, for publicity purposes. But Ira, who still grieves his friend's death and doesn't consider himself a hero, is tired of all the publicity, the attention, the demanding fans and the numerous favors he's being asked for. He also feels guilty of having survived the war while his friends died. He drinks until he hits rock bottom. Vowing to stay sober, he returns to his tribe in Arizona where he lives with his family. He gives up booze and runs for election to the tribal council. Devastated by the loss in elections, Ira gets drunk one last time. He climbs the nearby mountain which, in his mind, is his personal Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima. At the top, he finally takes his rightful place among his fallen comrades.—nuf