ira hayes, johnny cash, bob dylan

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arlington national cemetery

from ira hayes, johnny cash, bob dylan posted in music by pete_nice

Ira Hayes was a Pima Native American and a US Marine during World War II. The Pima Indian Reservation struggled to grow successful crops in Arizona after the government diverted most of the water supply, and Ira joined the Marines to be able to send money home to his family.

On February 19, 1945, Hayes was part of the 5th Marine Division that landed on Iwo Jima. On February 23, 1945, he was one of the five men portrayed in the iconic picture of Marines raising the second American flag on Suribachi (Ira is the one in back with the outstretched fingers).

Hayes became a celebrity because of the photo. He was pulled out of combat and put on a Bond Tour to raise money for the war. He constantly deferred attention to his fallen comrades, but starred in the John Wayne film, Sands of Iwo Jima as himself.

Ira Hayes accumulated 52 arrests for public drunkenness in the ensuing years. In 1955, he died in a ditch of alcohol poisoning and exposure.

A folk song, "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" was written by Peter La Farge. The song was covered by Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash (Cash's version went to #3 of the Billboard charts).

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