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Parade draws largest crowd of World War II veterans                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

HARLINGEN, Texas — Marine Military Academy will hold its annual Iwo Jima Parade Saturday, Feb. 17 at 10 a.m. on the MMA Parade Ground. This year marks the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.

Open to the public, this event is a tribute to the courage and sacrifice made by The Greatest Generation to preserve freedom around the world. Because of the subtropical climate of South Texas, MMA is the only organization in the country that holds a battalion-size parade on the actual anniversary (Feb. 19, 1945) of the Battle of Iwo Jima

Last year, 13 World War II veterans attended the event — eight of which were Iwo Jima survivors — and more than 350 people filled the parade stands.

There will be special reserved seating for Iwo Jima survivors in front of the parade stand, which directly faces the historic Iwo Jima Monument. During the parade, the Iwo Jima survivors will join the MMA superintendent for the ceremonial pass in review.

Event-goers are encouraged to stop by the Iwo Jima Museum & Gift Shop after the parade to watch a video depicting the Battle of Iwo Jima. They are also encouraged to view the Iwo Jima Monument and the gravesite of Cpl. Harlon Block before or after the parade.

Since April 1982, MMA has been home to the Iwo Jima Monument. The magnificent statue depicts six Marines raising the American flag on Feb. 23, 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Block, the Marine depicted at the base of the flagstaff, was a native of Weslaco, Texas.

For more information on the Iwo Jima Parade, call (956) 421-9225 or e-mail

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