Iwo Jima Vet

Published 05/31 2011 10:28AM

Updated 05/31 2011 11:42AM

An Effingham man gives us a glimpse at what the battle of Iwo Jima looked like.

"It was quite a journey, sure was," said Iwo Jima Veteran, Warren Peters.

You can find Peters sitting in his favorite chair reminiscing about his days as a teacher, his family and hunting trips.  When he's not telling you stories about his grandchildren he'll venture into a memory rich in our history and close to his heart.

"Even at 85 going on 86 years I can still shed tears," said Peters.

Peters was a Marine in World War II with the 5th Division.

"I was the only one on my squad that lasted 36 days, the six of us, I was the only one left," explained Peters.

He was one of the few to survive the battle of Iwo Jima.

"I guess I'm very thankful that the good lord has left me around with the mental capacity that I have to pass on to your generation things that have happened first hand because that's soon going to be gone," said Peters.

Peters was on the gun squad, but his role in the battle quickly changed.

"I went in as an ammo carrier the last man in the squad and when I came out I was a squad leader and a gunner," said Peters.

There were more than 20,000 casualties.  Peters lost friends he had been with for more than a year, a loss that still lives vividly in his mind.

"When my squad leader was killed, he fell in a fox hole and his head landed 6 inches from my knee and he was gone."

Despite the hardships of war Peters kept going.  He was part of the group that took over Mount Suribachi.

"We knew it was a big deal, we didn't realize the flag raising would become as important to the American people as it did," said Peters.

Peters is a living legend, part of a group that is slowly dieing out.  His story reminds us never to forget this painful, yet triumphant event.

"It was a defeat of a group of people who had attacked our freedoms and that was still in your mind even at 19 years of age because that's what you were fighting for," said Peters.

Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.