Iwo Jima Survivor Speaks at Ceremony
A Marine veteran of World War II shared a vivid account of the Iwo Jima invasion Saturday for the Moore County Veterans Memorial ceremony.
Joseph Riley spoke to hundreds gathered at the memorial in the Carriage Oaks Complex in Carthage for the annual ceremony sponsored by the Moore County Veterans Memorial Committee.
"Believe me, it was a merciless bombardment. It was pure hell," said the man who survived the invasion of the remote Japanese island in the final year of World War II.
Riley was a platoon leader assigned to L Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Division. For this service he received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star of Valor. The retired FBI agent lived in Seven Lakes for a number of years before moving in 2004 to Pinehurst.
Prior to the 10 a.m. ceremony the Union Pines High School band and flag team performed a stirring program, which also featured the laying of a wreath at the monument and the release of doves to mark the goal of peace. The playing of "Taps" closed the ceremony.
The ceremony opened with presentation of the colors by Union Pines JROTC with the National Anthem sung without accompaniment by sisters Ebony and Kyrin Walker-Johnson. Rose Cooper and Summer Hennings presented special music.
Before the Pledge of Allegiance, George Hunt, county veterans service officer, announced that the flag would be lowered to half-staff after the ceremony in recognition of the men and women killed in the tragic shootings in Fort Hood, Texas.
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