In today’s photo, a Cinderella kite is flying in the sky below an out-of-focus moon. The kite was being flown by my five-year-old granddaughter, and it was the first time that she ever flew a kite.
I bought the kites that morning so she and her even littler sister (2-1/2) could experience the joy of kite flying…and they did. It was a lovely day, a warm, gentle breeze sweeping over the hill top, bathing our skin with warm caresses.
While I was able to arrange for the kites, I was not able to arrange for the placement of the moon. It was not until I was photographing the scene that I notice the moon flying nearly a quarter of a million miles beyond the kite on the string.
As I stood there, snapping away, watching the joy and delight on my precious grand-daughter’s faces, I couldn’t help but think how much I hope that they will fly in their lives, that they will dream dreams and live to see those dreams be realized. At five and two years of age, they are only beginning to dream…but oh!, how I hope their dreams are great ones that they will charge after with full-hearts and minds!
Far too many young girls in the world are not allowed to dream, to fly into the ether of possibilities and the world is far poorer for it. Little girls carry rich potential, no less and no different that that of any little boy. The face of Cinderella, smiling and joyous as she flew above us like the moon that witnessed it all, became that of my grand-daughters, a symbol of the freedom of their marvelous spirits and of their incredible joy.
Let’s let all our little ones fly dream kites to the moon and beyond. One day, they may make the journey for real if we let their dreams take flight today.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1945, the west Pacific volcanic island of Iwo Jima is declared secure by the U.S. military after months of fiercely fighting its Japanese defenders.
The Americans began applying pressure to the Japanese defense of Iwo Jima in February 1944, when B-24 and B-25 bombers raided the island for 74 days straight. It was the longest pre-invasion bombardment of the war, necessary because of the extent to which the Japanese–21,000 strong–fortified the island, above and below ground, including a network of caves. Underwater demolition teams (“frogmen”) were dispatched by the Americans just before the actual invasion to clear the shores of mines and any other obstacles that could obstruct an invading force. In fact, the Japanese mistook the frogmen for an invasion force and killed 170 of them.
The amphibious landings of Marines began the morning of February 19, 1945, as the secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, accompanied by journalists, surveyed the scene from a command ship offshore. The Marines made their way onto the island–and seven Japanese battalions opened fire, obliterating them. By that evening, more than 550 Marines were dead and more than 1,800 were wounded.
In the face of such fierce counterattack, the Americans reconciled themselves to the fact that Iwo Jima could be taken only one yard at a time. A key position on the island was Mt. Suribachi, the center of the Japanese defense. The 28th Marine Regiment closed in and around the base of the volcanic mountain at the rate of 400 yards per day, employing flamethrowers, grenades, and demolition charges against the Japanese that were hidden in caves and pillboxes (low concrete emplacements for machine-gun nests). Approximately 40 Marines finally began a climb up the volcanic ash mountain, which was smoking from the constant bombardment, and at 10 a.m. on February 23, a half-dozen Marines raised an American flag at its peak, using a pipe as a flag post. Two photographers caught a re-staging of the flag raising for posterity, creating one of the most reproduced images of the war. But with Mt. Suribachi claimed, only one-third of Iwo Jima was under American control.
On March 16, with a U.S. Navy military government established, Iwo Jima was declared secured and the fighting over. When all was done, more than 6,000 Marines died fighting for the island, along with almost all the 21,000 Japanese soldiers trying to defend it.
Galen’s note: one of the greatest honors of my life was to shake the hand of a Marine who fought on Iwo Jima when I was visiting the National Marine Corps Museum near Washington, DC. He was serving as a docent. I wept.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The swastika is a yoga symbol that comes from the Sanskrit term Svastik, meaning “that which is associated with well-being.”