78th Annual Iwo Jima Flag Raising Parade Canceled for 2023

Emma Hughes
Gila River Indian News


One of Gila River Indian Community’s most honored traditions recognizes the anniversary of the U.S. flag being raised by six United States Marines, including GRIC’s own Ira H. Hayes, atop Mt. Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945.


“This event brings all our friends and comrades from at least 19 states and Canada into GRIC,” said Bill Dixon, Commander for the Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post 84.


The Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post 84 and Auxiliary Unit have partnered with GRIC and its departments in coordinating events annually, bringing together thousands of visitors and veterans for this significant occasion.


For the past two years, all events were canceled and the anniversary has been recognized with video presentations from Post 84 and GRIC leadership, due to the COVID precautions.


“Post 84 is sad to announce the February 2023 Iwo Jima Flag Raising Commemoration Parade must be canceled and rescheduled for 2024,” said Dixon.


“The large amount of people causes the Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post 84 to be concerned for the health and safety of our community members as well as travelers.”


The anniversary is customarily recognized with an annual parade that includes a military flyover, dinner banquet for veterans and special guests, and social pow-wow. Those events have also been canceled but separate events will take place.


On Saturday, Feb. 25, a small local gathering is set to be held at the Matthew B. Juan – Ira H. Hayes Veterans Memorial Park in Sacaton, from 7A.M. to 10A.M.


This event will commemorate the flag raising anniversary and include a tribute to what would have been Hayes’ centennial birthday.


Post 84 will provide a flag raising, wreath laying, and 21-gun salute ceremonies at the park.


 Additional events will follow in District 5, Casa Blanca, at the St. Peter Mission School for their St. Peter’s Run for the Fallen.