Flags of Our Fathers Study Guide

Chapter 14 - Myths

As the Seventh Bond Tour begins, they had a goal to raise: fourteen billion dollars for the support of the war effort. On May 8th, news got around about the surrender of Germany and how Joe Rosenthal got a Pulitzer Prize for the photo he took. The opening ceremonies for the bond tour are held the next day, before the boys get taken to New York by train. Marine correspondent Keyes Beech accompanied them. The media were insisting on depicting the boys as heroes to everybody, which they refused as they think that they are no different with the other ones who fought in Iwo Jima.


As he Not able to handle all the pressure, Ira turns to alcohol for solace. His alcoholism was somewhat encouraged by Keyes Beech, leaving Ira drunk not just at night, but also during press appearances and crucial events. The Bond Tour lands in Philadelphia, where a reporter in front of The Liberty Bell asked the boys if the photo was staged. They responded that the photograph was not staged. Their next stop was in Boston, where they unexpectedly meet Pauline Harnois, having travelled all the way from Manchester, New Hampshire. She enjoys being under the spotlight, and being excited with the possibility of becoming a star and travelling to places, starts pressuring Rene to marry her. settles into family life, Jack makes it clear that he does not want to be known as a hero based on the association of the flag raising photograph. He avoids taking in phone calls from people who want to interview him. He has a great distrust for the press after how they covered the battle in Iwo Jima. He thinks that the real heroes are the ones who died in battle, as well as all of the Marines who fought. He didn’t want to be singled out just because he raised a flag.

On May 14th, the boys returned to New York, where Martha Strank, Goldie Sousley, Hensley Price, and Mrs. Madeline Evelley (mother of Hank Hansen) joined them, on the speakers’ platform. After they spend some time in New York, they travel to Chicago, still with Pauline Harnois. They then visit Detroit and Indianapolis before returning back to Chicago. Because of his constant drunkenness, Ira Hayes is told to report to his unit, Easy Company, in Hawaii. The other Marines around him noticed how much he’s changed: he’s almost always never sober and keeps to himself mostly. Jack and Rene continue the tour without Ira, with the tour finally ending on July 4th, having raised $26.3 billion.

The money that was raised during the bond tour was put to intensifying the American forces located in the Pacific, signaling that an attack on Japan is looming. Rene gets granted a leave and marries Pauline before he returns to San Diego. Jack Bradley serves as best man in the wedding and Rene’s mother, Irene, didn’t attend the event. Afterwards, Rene gets deployed on active duty to China. The photograph gets commemorated on a stamp and Jack Bradley, who was being treated in Bethesda for his leg wounds, attend the ceremonies that mark the opening of the sales.

Notes: The boys’ humility continues. President Truman dubbed Ira Hayes as a “true American hero” because of his roots as a Native American; however, they still continued to see themselves as no different from their comrades.

Chapter 17 – A Conflict of Honor

Ed and Belle Block decide to leave their home for Loma Linda, California, where there is a decent population of Seventh Day Adventists. Harlon’s death drove Belle to the edge, making her want to get out of the Valley. Ed agrees to move with Belle along with their sons Ed, Corky, and Mel, so their marriage could be saved. However, soon enough, Ed decides to return to Texas, as he cannot make a living with farming in California, with Belle refusing to come back with him.

In July 1947, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin start making plans of using atomic weapons on Japan to end the war once and for all. Their decision was unanimous. Iwo Jima was now used as an emergency landing strip for B-29 flyers coming from their base in Tinian to Japanese targets, as well as the air cover for those planes.

Jack Bradley returns to Appleton, Wisconsin in September after seeking treatment for his leg wounds at Bethesda Naval Medical Center near Washington. After going on a date with Betty Van Gorp, who he eventually marries, he returns to get surgery on his leg. Once he got discharged in December, he immediately proposed to Betty. Ira Hayes and Mike Strank’s brother, Pete Strank, gets discharged from service as well—but they both end up becoming different from who they used to be. They both turned to alcoholism for comfort and Pete’s nerves bother him for the rest of his life. Just like other veterans coming from battle, nightmares brought upon by PTSD haunted Pete. For four years since his return, Jack cries in his sleep. As for Rene Gagnon and his new wife, Pauline, they return to Manchester, New Hampshire where he started working on the mills once again.

Ira returned to his old life at the Pima Reservation, doing odd jobs and working in the fields. He gets stalked by reporters and fans who want to take a photo with him and interview him, but he mostly keeps to himself and drinks a lot. He doesn’t air out any of his troubles, as it’s a tradition for Pima people to keep mum about those types of things. In May 1946, he suddenly made a trip to Weslaco, Texas to pay Ed Block a visit. He tells Ed that it was indeed Ed’s son, Harlon, who was in the photo of the flag raising. Ed calls his wife Belle in California and confirms that she has been right from the start. She writes a letter to her Congressman to correct the misidentification that occurred.

Notes: Belle Block’s hardships after Harlon’s death became one of the focuses of the chapter. Despite Ira’s alcohol problems, he still made the trip to Texas in order to make sure that Harlon gets the recognition that he deserves.

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Celis, Christine. "TheBestNotes on Flags of Our Fathers". TheBestNotes.com. . 09 May 2017
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