Friday, March 24th....We received a comprehensive symposium and some strict regulations regarding the rules set down by the Japanese authorities regarding travel to Iwo. There is a ceremony, and all males must wear a sport jacket, tie and dress shirt. NO shorts! Mind you, Iwo temperatures at this time of year are in the 80s with humidity.
After the ceremony or once you leave the area where the ceremony is held, you can ditch the jacket, shirt and tie but still not shorts. We've been told we will be walking (NO transportation except for Iwo veterans) up to ten (10) miles in order to cover the area from the airport to the ceremony, then to the beaches on up to the base of Mt Suribachi. Climbing up to the summit, then back down and returning to the airport will be close to 10 miles. I thought it was going to be more like five miles, so I'll certainly be pacing this 77 1/2 year old body.
The symposium was extremely comprehensive and a real history lesson. James Farley was the presenter, and he did a superlative job.
My goal for the day was to meet two special people. Lucille is a nurse practitioner who has been in the medical field for over 60 years. She is on the staff of Military History Tours and had called me the week before I left regarding a blood thinner I take. We had a great chat. She has been to Iwo Jima 18 times and her husband fought on Peleliu. She is very gracious.