Ira Hays: Native Hero by Jesse Bear


    Ira Hamilton Hayes is a Pima Indian who one of the six people who raised the flag in the iconic picture that was taken on Iwo Jima during WW2. Ira Hayes parents Joseph Hayes and Nancy Hamilton had a child born on January 12, 1923 in Sacaton Arizona. Ira Hayes was the oldest of the 6 other children that his mother had. He was said to be a very quiet kid and very calm unlike his other siblings. He did very well i elementary but when He went to high school he went for only 2 years and left to serve in the marines. Ira Hayes served for 3 years from 1942-1945. Ira Hayes enlisted in the Marines Corps on August 26, 1942 in Phoenix during the National Emergency. In September 1944 he went to Hawaii for more training and in January of 1945 he was transferred to Iwo Jima on D-Day on February 19, 1995. On February 23, a picture was taken by Joe Rosenthal which was 6 marines raising the U.S. flag and Ira Hayes was the one on the far left. At the end of the war he was returned to the U.S. landing  in San Francisco on November 9 and he was honorably discharged on December 1. Ira Hayes returned home and worked low experience jobs. His experiences traumatized him so he turned to drinking and on January 24, 1955 he was found dead close to his home. He died at the age of 32 and was buried Arlington National Cemetery. His medals that he earned were Commendation Ribbon with “V” combat device, Presidential Unit Citation with one star (for Iwo Jima), Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four stars (for Vella Lavella, Bougainville, Consolidation of the Northern Solomons, and Iwo Jima), American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.


    World War II started on September 1, 1939 and ended on September 2, 1945. There was 70-85 million casualties in WWII which made it the deadliest war in history. That was about 3% of the population at the time. WWII started because of Germany attacked Poland Britain and France declared war because Germany said they wouldn’t stop attacking Poland. The Allied forces of the War were France, USSR, the UK, and the U.S. The axis powers of the war were Germany, Italy, and Japan. The U.S. didn’t join the War right away they joined only when on December 7, 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. WWII ended when Germany surrendered which happened a week after Hitler committed suicide.