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Museum to Honor - Iwo Jima

Updated on September 3, 2016
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I had opportunities to visit or live in over one fourth of the world. I am writing about my experiences. Enjoy. Canita

Texas State Line

Welcome to Texas on Highway 69/75 headed South
Welcome to Texas on Highway 69/75 headed South | Source

Texas Visitor’s Center

When I reached the Texas state line I visited the Texas Visitor’s Center. I was given four brochures/magazine for the Harlingen, Texas area. Those brochures were; Rio Grande Valley magazine, Unveiling Murals brochure, Harlingen Visitor’s Guide brochure, and Iwo Jima Memorial brochure. Five hundred miles and eight hours and ten minutes later I arrived in Harlingen, Texas. My first impression was the beautiful Washington Palms blowing in the wind, lots of the color green; grass, bushes, trees, the smell of salt in the air, my feet were thawed, and the slight sound of the palms swishing in the air. This day was spent settling into Value Place and a visit to the Iwo Jima Memorial Monument and Museum.

Loop 499 of Harlingen, Texas

The Value Place was located on Loop 499. The word loop should have been a clue, but after eight hours on the road I was feeling loopy. I became frustrated when I took the loop and found no Value Place. I stopped at a Stripes station and was told that I was to take the Carey exit. I returned to Highway 77 and followed it for some distance and did not come across Carey exit. Thinking I must have missed it, I placed another call this time to Value Place. This time the person instructed me to continue South on Hwy 77 and take the exit East New Hampshire Street . I was on the wrong end of the loop. Even though I was frustrated at the first with this Loop 499 business. As I began to travel the area I learned to love the loop. That loop made learning the city layout much easier.

Value Place of Harlingen, Texas

Tired, loopy and frustrated I arrived at the Value Place. Checking in was a little more complicated than a hotel/motel, but the place was worth the wait. I chose this place to stay because it was only a little over $200.00 for seven days. Upon my arrival I come to understand that this was not the traditional hotel/motel. These accommodations were made for extended stays. You could live here for years. I had stayed in other extended stay hotels and they were more like the hotel/motels. But Value Place had more to offer. They even had dish and coffee machine sets for sale. They provided towel and bedding exchanges daily or whenever needed. They came in every other week and cleaned for you. The place was safe and comfortable. Getting reservations could get a little sticky in some areas, but if it is available I definitely recommend the Value Place. 800-Value Place - ValuePlace.com. “Stay a week, a month or longer.”

Iwo Jima Memorial Monument

Iwo Jima Memorial Monument in Harlingen, Texas
Iwo Jima Memorial Monument in Harlingen, Texas | Source

Iwo Jima Museum and Marine Military Academy

Iwo Jima Memorial Monument and Museum is free. It is open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily. www.mma-tx.org, 1-800-365-6006. There is a daily film “The Battle For Iwo Jima” it is shown at no charge. The film is shown in the Gift Shop. The Museum and Memorial Monument is located close by the Marine Military Academy which is a High School for boys. This school , memorial and museum is not funded by the government, it exists totally on tuition and gifts.

The Battle for Iwo Jima Film

I lived in the Micronesian Islands for three years. I have studied the Micronesian area and learned about some of the military needs/uses of the islands in the Pacific, but I did not know the needs/uses of Iwo Jima.

The film was a very informative and I learned four things I did not know. MacArthur’s was stockpiling ships for the taking of Philippians and this strategy delayed the battles for Iwo Jima for several months, Iwo Jima was the last in a string of islands coming from Japan similar to the Florida keys, and the island of Iwo Jima was like the Catacombs of Rome. The Japanese were living underground among the dead. The “flyers” of the B-29’s during the WWII attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were saved when the island of Iwo Jima was available for emergency landings. I could elaborate more, but you need to check it out for yourself. Or if you enjoy researching wars. Iwo Jima is definitely an interesting search.

Map of Iwo Jima found in Museum

Iwo Jima map at Museum and Gift Shop in Harlingen, Texas
Iwo Jima map at Museum and Gift Shop in Harlingen, Texas | Source

Gordon Korman Books

I remember reading a fiction book series to my students about an island where an empty atomic bomb was stored. The “Island Series; shipwrecked, survival and escape,” by Gordon Korman. When viewing this film it reminded me of those book. They are children’s books, but a fun and interesting read.

Current Events in the Schools

The last travesty really struck home with me. Iwo Jima took one month and eight days to secure. (February 19, 1945 to March 26, 1945). Approximately 7,000 Americans were lost during that time because the Japanese were entrenched in their Catacombs. Then in 1968 we returned the island of Iwo Jima back to the Japanese. The fact that we returned Iwo Jima back to the Japanese made a statement that was made to me as a teacher come to life. Often people would say, “you need to teach more information that is relevant to this day and age.” I tried to do what they requested with current events etc… but, I really did not get it until this day. If we had taught about what happened at Iwo Jima in the schools during the 1950’s and 60’s. Perhaps we would not have allowed the government return this island of Iwo Jima to the Japanese twenty-three (23) years later.

The Iwo Jima Memorial Monument

The Iwo Jima Memorial Monument is a 32-foot high figurine showing men erecting a 78-foot steel flagpole. The Marine Corps War Memorial originally commissioned for Washington D. C. in the Arlington National Cemetery was bronzed, and the original moved to Harlingen, Texas. The original did not weather well in Washington D. C. thus the bronze was made for D. C.and the original came to rest in Harlingen, Texas and adjusted well to the weather. This Memorial Monument is spectacular to view. The grounds as well as the monument are well maintained and well marked. Do not miss the opportunity to visit this Memorial Monument. It is a great reminder and an awesome piece of art.

Recommendations


The Texas Visitor’s Center brochure/magazine “Rio Grande Valley” was the one brochure most helpful in my discovery of Harlingen, Texas. I almost did not pick it up because I did not realize at that time that Harlingen, Texas was in the Rio Grande Valley. Day one was balanced with some good and some bad. I would recommend both the Value Place and the Iwo Jima Memorial Monument and Museum of Harlingen, Texas.

Outdoors in Harlingen, Texas blog

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