I read an article recently in the Central Recorder, CCSU’s student run newspaper. The article was titled “The Forgotten Memorial” , and it was about the Iwo Jima Memorial located right here in New Britain. The memorial was erected in 1995 and honors those who fought in WW2, as well as in this historic battle. This memorial is unique because it also pays tribute to 100 men from Connecticut that fought and died in the battle of Iwo Jima.
This article caught my attention because a few years ago in my Intro to Public History class, we visited this memorial and also had the honor to speak with some of the veterans that were in the middle of the battle 68 years ago. We had visited the memorial as a part of the Unit we were working on about the importance of memorials. I think the biggest impact this experience had on me, was that you never really understand the significance of something until you are able to hear the stories of the people who were directly involved. Hearing their stories and seeing how passionate they were about the memorial really drove the point home that this memorial meant a lot to them, and it served as a reminder for our community of the sacrifice these men mad for our country. As interest in the memorial dwindles as well as monetary support its almost as we are forgetting about our own history, and just brushing aside the veterans that fought so hard for our freedom. To me the memorial is of great importance because I personally saw how much it meant to the veterans. Their stories brought tears to the eyes of my classmates as well as myself, I would hate to see the memorial completely forgotten about, or not funded anymore, its almost as if we are brushing the veterans to the side, and that the freedom that they fought so hard for doesn’t matter.
A fun side note is that one of the veterans told me that the rocks upon the memorial are actually rocks from Iwo Jima that the soldiers brought back with them!