Serving Veterans Day lunch in Rockland

Memories of Iwo Jima with Leroy Peasley: ‘We did it all together’

Posted:  Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 6:00pm

ROCKLAND – American Legion Post Number One in Rockland hosted a Veterans Day luncheon free to all vets on Saturday, November 11. On the menu was roast beef, peas and carrots, mashed potatoes with gravy and pearl onions. Veterans enjoyed brownies and ice cream or cookies for dessert.

Debbie Marr said they served more than 100 people for lunch. She said it's the American Legion Auxiliary Unit One that hosts the event. Marr said the Post and the Auxiliary will put the Thanksgiving dinner on together.

Leroy Peasley is a resident of Rockland. He served in the Marines in World War II and saw action on both Guam and Iwo Jima.

Peasley served from 1943 to 1946 in the Marines and was a member of the Marine Reserve from 1956 to 1960. Peasley asked if I remembered the Great Depression.

"My family was very poor," he said. "And we didn't have much to eat. When I was eight years old I had to go to the children's home in Bath so I could get something to eat."

Peasley said he did everything he was told to do in the home and he learned.

"And when I got to the Marine Corp. boot camp in 1943," he said, "the other guys their mothers had done everything for them and they had to learn, so I helped them and what seemed like something bad was like I was put in the children's home again."

Pfc. Peasley said he was picked by the Marines to guard President Roosevelt in May of 1943.

"One time I stopped two men at night," he said. "We were up in the mountains where the president had his presidential retreat in Thurmont, Maryland. I stopped these two men and come to find out, they were from Scotland Yard and they were Marines here to guard Winston Churchill. And I didn't even know Churchill was here."

Peasley said he was in the 3rd Marine Division and helped take Guam back.

"And then I was at Iwo Jima," he said. "We were right next to Mt. Suribachi and we had to take a boat and pick up wounded and dying marines and get away because the Japanese were trying to sink us."

Peasley said he was sent back to the Japanese side of the island and he thought they were going to land there, but they were to pick up more wounded marines.

"When they finally got the flag up," he said, "our radio operator he the marines on the mountains say we finally got it, meaning the flag was up on top the mountain. We looked, but couldn't see it because we had to move way out because they were trying to sink our boat."

Peasley said he used to think as a Marine you did it all, but in truth you're just part of one big outfit. He said it was because of what they did, and all the others did and everybody at home was why we won.

"We did it all together," he said.