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The Hand of God

6 BOYS AND 13 HANDS – A Must Read

Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade class from Clinton, WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation’s capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall’s trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history — that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II.

Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, ‘Where are you guys from?’

I told him that we were from Wisconsin . ‘Hey, I’m a cheese head, too! Come gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story.’

(It was James Bradley who just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, DC, but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.)

When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his words that night.)

‘My name is James Bradley and I’m from Antigo, Wisconsin My dad is on that statue, and I wrote a book called ‘Flags of Our Fathers’. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.

‘Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game. A game called ‘War.’ But it didn’t turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don’t say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old – and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.

(He pointed to the statue) ‘You see this next guy? That’s Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire If you took Rene’s helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph…a photograph of his girlfriend Rene put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

‘The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the ‘old man’ because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn’t say, ‘Let’s go kill some Japanese’ or ‘Let’s die for our country’ He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, ‘You do what I say, and I’ll get you home to your mothers.’

‘The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes was one of them who lived to walk off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, ‘You’re a hero’ He told reporters, ‘How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?’

So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken).

‘The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky. A fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, ‘Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn’t get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.’ Yes, he was a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother’s farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

‘The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite’s producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say ‘No, I’m sorry, sir, my dad’s not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don’t know when he is coming back.’ My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell’s soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn’t want to talk to the press.

‘You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn’t see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, ’cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver. On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died on Iwo Jima , they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.

‘When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, ‘I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.’

‘So that’s the story about six nice young boys.. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.’

Suddenly, the monument wasn’t just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is.. that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of ‘hands’ raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God.

Great story – worth your time – worth every American’s time. Please pass it on.

Isaiah Eves !

The #1 Request I receive constantly is:  More stories; people love to read mezmorizing stories that are indeed factual.

I have a following of people that are amazed at the bizarre stories I have published and some of them (most of them) are kinda bizarre  to say  the least;   Google:  Jesus drove a snowmachine  and read the true story – with 7 different witness as to this preposterous event. Stuff like this, just doesn’t happen. Although it seems to follow me no matter where I live.  Which only goes to prove:  Jesus Christ is alive and well!  There is just no other explanation that even remotely begins to make any sense what so ever.  Here is a perfect example:  You be the ‘judge’ of this true story.

The year was 1972.   I was married. a young family just starting out. I had a daughter that was about 2 years young. As every man wants;  A son to carry on the family name. Especially when I found out that I was the last male in my family to carry on the family name.  I wanted a son.  I wanted a son for a much different reason; To TRAIN HIM: To become a spiritual GIANT.  This was my obsession in 1972 & 1973.  It is all I could think about and pray about, day & night for years.  My wife was adamant – NO!  She would freely offer her negative comments in overflowing abundance. I much rather belive in the Promises of the Lord, than some woman who was constantly wrong (about everything).

I wanted a son & I wanted to name him ISAIAH.   At some point in time; I went out and bought some gold leaf lettering that could be applied to any surface;   In my darkroom on a white wall – I rubbed the letters to form his name and I would stare at it constantly.  Oh how I wish & pray.  This was in 1973.   At that time, I also had a daughter. Vanessa. THE LOVE OF MY LIFE; MY WHOLE REASON FOR EXISTING.   I just had to add her name to the wall,  It looked wonderful, until I screwed it all up; than it looked different.  It didn’t look right !   This is how the names were arranged on the wall.

Isaiah

                 Eves

Vanessa

 It was beautiful to behold, in gold leaf shinny calagraphy type text. But something was wrong.  It did not look like brother & sister.  It looked like ?  Husband & Wife.   This bothered me greatly.  It just didn’t look right.  (end of story).

1981 –  June, I left Boston to move to Alaska to seek work as an electrician.  I was lucky, I was working steady and had a great company to work with that sent me to Point Hope.   There I found out my wife divorced me (over the phone). GOOD.  In 1983 I married an Inupiaq woman & Isaiah Eves was born in November 14th of that year.

I have never told anyone this story of Isaiah.  NO ONE. ever !!   I fell in love with the Inupiaq people – the culture – lifestyle and the Arctic.  I wasn’t leaving.  I have agonized over loosing my precious daughter Vanessa.  Since 1980, I have not been able to celebrate Christmas.  It has no meaning for me ever again.

Now, in Point Hope, I had a thorn in my side, a little cute kid that I would see constantly every day, riding her bike. Everytime she would see me, she would smile big and say.. Hi Umah !! (Oo mah).   Umah is an eskimo  term meaning “sweetheart” but not in the sense you use that word.  It is much different and it takes a rather lengthy explanation that might be confusing.   Umah vs. Attiik      Attik (Ah tick) is someone who shares the same name as you do.  It is common to hear people say;  Hello Ut!  (because the person they are addressing has the same first name ).

Hello Umah!

My Umah 1988

An Umah is special;   Two women in the village have the same first name (English or Inupiaq) :  Clara – those two women are Attik’s to each other. BUT; their spouses; ARE: Umah’s.    The other woman named Clara is my Umah.  And so are her children, They refer to me as Umah when they see me.  Well this one young girl who always called me Umah. One day said to me, (sob),  Umah?  How come you never call me by my name ?? All the air was kicked out of me, as I gasped for air, I merely said,  I can’t!  It hurts too much.   This girls name was Vanessa.  The only girl with that name, not only in this village, but in all other Inupiaq villages !!

1991  I took all my sons out of  Point Hope to Anchorage to give them an education properly.  I would not be allowed to do what I did in the village.  Absolutely not.  IN 2003 we moved back to Point Hope,  In  2004 with  absolutely no first hand knowledge; of anything that had transpired in my past via photographs or stories,  I received notice from Isaiah that he was getting married.  Wow; I said;  To who ??    Vanessa Dirks was the name he said and I felt so wierd all over. DejaVu ?  Oh WoWoW !!  Lord?  You sure work in very mysterious ways indeed !!

Isaiah & Vanessa Eves were married in 2004 !  31 years after I wrote those two names on my darkroom wall.  I was in Kotzebue @ the time, When I heard the news that I was invited to a wedding in Point Hope,  I nearly passed out cold!

F ile this: Someplace between X-Files & Twilight Zone.  Stuff you just could never ever make up!!

Isaiah & Vanessa

Isaiah & Vanessa

Category: Point Hope, TRUE STORIES  Comments off

UFO’S IN POINT HOPE ALASKA !!

Two nights in a row !  The same huge triangle shape was seen low in the sky.   200 feet  over houses in Point Hope.  An image of this ‘craft’ will be posted soon;   As soon as I can find Chester Koonuk.  It stopped over his house;  he came out- looked up, and took a photo with his camera phone.

Excitement is brewing in Point Hope – the village is buzzing with chatter.

This huge craft had many lights that were fireball types.  That is what I am hearing.   I didn’t see it and I am not far from Chesters house. Everyone in the village is on the lookout – wondering what is this ??

The video has been given to the police who have forwarded it to the Air Force!

According to eyewitness;  There was no sound – when Chester came out of his house,  the craft just took off,  quickly up and gone – pfft.

and if any people thinks this is a prank.. just call anyone in Point Hope !!

News of the Arctic – you heard it here first !! (chuckle).

Category: TRUE STORIES  2 Comments