Flags of Our Fathers

New this month Question: Were any Japanese killed by the bombardment by the battleships?

Question: What exactly happened to Iggy? Are we ever supposed to know exactly how he died?

Chosen answer: The movie insinuates that he was killed horribly but doesn't provide many details. Books about Iwo Jima have quotes from witnesses about what happened to him and they all say that he was very brutally tortured, including having his eyes cut out and his genitals removed and stuffed in his mouth. The book "Flags of Our Fathers" contains the following quote, "A few days later someone yelled that they'd found him. They called me over because I was a corpsman. The Japanese had pulled him underground and tortured him. His fingernails... his tongue... It was terrible. I've tried hard to forget all this.

Question: Why did Hayes hate the fame he was receiving?

Chosen answer: It's hard to truly understand why some people aren't comfortable in the spotlight. But Hayes was known for saying "I am not a hero" and that the real heroes were "the brave men who died." He really didn't want to be known as a hero for raising the flag, especially when so many of his friends died and didn't earn the respect he was getting. Unfortunately, he turned to alcohol a developed a drinking problem, which lead him to shun fame even more. However, these things are not unique to him. Many soldiers, especially those who suffer PTSD which Hayes may have had, feel guilt or remorse for surviving when friends didn't. Fame and the spotlight only exasperates these feelings as it becomes a constant reminder of their survival. Alcoholism also leads to some want to be left alone for numerous reasons.

Bishop73

Question: Did the scene where Ira Hayes rages against police after a bartender refuses to serve him really happen?

Chosen answer: Following WWII, Ira Hayes hated the fame and sensational publicity associated the flag-raising at Iwo Jima. Deeply depressed, Hayes descended into alcoholism over the next few years, and it eventually killed him. Director Clint Eastwood actually underplayed the true extent of Hayes' sad decline, and the scene you mention was no doubt dramatized for the screen. In real life, Hayes was arrested 52 times for public intoxication and disorderly conduct at various places across the country before his death.

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Mistakes

When the Marines strip off and run into the sea in the final scene, Doc takes off a pair of white socks that would be more appropriate for a final at Wimbledon. Not only are they white rather than khaki, they are virtually spotlessly clean which would be impossible after a week of fighting on the black sands of Iwo Jima.

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Trivia

This movie was filmed back-to-back with Letters from Iwo Jima, a fictional account of the battle of Iwo Jima that looks at it from the Japanese soldier's perspective.

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