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Iwo Jima flag framed, hanging in Wheat Ridge shop

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WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. -- On Feb. 23 1945, as Old Glory was being raised on Mount Suribachi, another flag was flying on Iwo Jima that day as well. It was a much smaller flag, but meant just as much to the man who laid eyes on her.

It was firmly planted on the beach, and used as a visual marker for boats and ships transporting men and material to the beach head.

As the echoes of battle faded, and the island was secured, the wind-battered and soiled flag found its way to Navy man Carl Swanstrom, who was at Iwo Jima as a Navy engineer.

He was assigned on board an LST, a landing ship caring tanks. The flag was a cherished souvenir.

In time, memories and people fade away. But the torn and tattered veteran of Iwo Jima remained, and found its way to Jim Buckner, a distant relative to Carl Swanstrom.

It fell into the capable hands of Tim Tripp, who owns and operates Grizzly Creek Framing in Wheat Ridge. There, the flag will be preserved, framed, but left as tattered as it was when it left Iwo Jima.

There are not a lot of Iwo Jima veterans around these days to give testament to that terrible battle which makes the tattered and tired cloth of red, white and blue that much more important.

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