November 7, 2015

The Rio Grande Valley’s Heritage of Valor and Pride Featured on National Television


Just this past week, I visited the tomb of Harlon Block in the grounds of the Marine Military Academy with journalist Ed Hutchings from the UK who is passionate about our country’s military history and traveled here to participate in the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. He had read about the anniversary of the Iwo Jima battle and of the famous flag-raising photograph taken in 1945 by Pulitzer Price (for this iconic photograph ) AP photographer Joe Rosenthal. He was pleasantly surprised to learn he could visit this memorial site here in South Texas. In the photograph and in the monument, it is Harlon Block  planting the flag at the top of Mount Suribachi in February of 1945. Harlon died just a few days after the picture was taken.

Corp Harlon Henry Block (1924-1945)

Corp Harlon Henry Block (1924-1945)

Marine Military Academy held a celebration for the memorable 70th anniversary of the battle yesterday November the 6th, 2015 at their parade grounds. But what made my day is to see a video of a segment presented during yesterday’s CBS Today morning show. I loved it that it states that the highly recognized monument located in the Arlington Cemetery is not the only one, for Harlingen’s Marine Military Academy has the original one. The monument in Harlingen was created  by Felix de Weldon first to be used as the mold for the second one. The video’s “spin” is about football which is great, for we have a tremendous fan base and loyalty to the sport here in the Rio Grande Valley. Without a doubt, Football lightens the tragic story of the thousands who lost their lives during the battle of Iwo Jima. Just watch the video at the Iwo Jima  Museum and you will know what I mean. “Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue” is written under the monument. You have to go visit if you have not done so already. This coming Veterans Day plan to participate in the academy’s celebration. For more click on the Marine Military Academy link.


The Rio Grande Valley has a tremendous heritage of valor, pride and love of country. The Valley is home to thousands of veterans, and we could not be more proud.

Please link here to watch “Together we Make Football”: The Story of two 1940s Marines  -

 Marine Military Academy 


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About the Author

Tapia - Gonzales
La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" living in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Life, art and culture, poetry, prayers, travel, and camping! yes, that's my new thing. I blame the heat and high humidity for the madness. Contributions and comments are always welcome .


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