Santa Barbara- S County

WWII Veteran Remembers The Battle of Iwo Jima

Walter Douglas saw the American flag on top of Mount Suribachi from his ship

WWII Veteran remembers the Battle of Iwo Jima

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Veterans were honored at a special ceremony at El Presidio Historic Park on Monday.

Some of the oldest veterans were honored by some of the youngest military-to-be. The Oxnard High School Air Force JROCT performed at the ceremony and handed roses to the veterans.

"Thank you for everything that you've done. That we respect you, that we honor you, and that we're just proud," said Rosa Cortez, a sophomore at Oxnard High.

Many of the vets participate in events like the one at the park to remember the fallen.

"We came home, that's a good thing. A lot of our good guys didn't make it," said Vietnam veteran Robert Duarte.

Walter Douglas, 93, served in the Navy during World War II, but rarely talks about what happened.

"I leave it within my old heart. I don't tell everybody. This is the first time I wore a hat with the Navy on it," said Douglas as he pointed to the hat.

Even his own grandson doesn't know much about his time in the service.

"He's been pretty humble with his family about his service as well. I'm learning more and more every Veterans Day from him," said Keith Douglas.

When Walter Douglas was just 26 years old, he fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.

His battle station was on the bridge of the ship, where he could see the island and the fighting.

When he looked to the top of Mount Suribachi, he saw the American flag waving in the air.

"The people were so small, we didn't see the ceremony. All we saw was the little flag, then all of a sudden the big flag. So you know, made a person feel good," he said.

"To know that he was there and witnessed that is an amazing thing," said his grandson.

It's been 68 years since that battle, but Walter Douglas said he'll never forget it.

"Every time I see the Iwo Jima statue, it brings tears to my eyes," he said.

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