Iwo Jima: A Final Tour

Moving Image
Created: 2010


Iwo Jima: A Final Tour
Summary: "It is not uncommon for veterans to visit the battlefields of their past, but Iwo Jima is unlike any other historic battlefield in the world. There are no commercial flights to the island, no tourism, no museums and no full-time inhabitants. It is -- quite frankly -- in the middle of nowhere.

"But, what happened on Iwo Jima 65 years ago helped change the world and forever changed the men who were there.

"In 2010, a group of Colorado WWII veterans had the rare opportunity to return to the island on which they had fought as teenagers -- an island where nearly 6,000 of their fellow U.S. Marines died.

"It was also a rare opportunity for a local television station to take its viewers on an extraordinary journey, beyond the confines of everyday news.

"On Memorial Day, KMGH aired a 30-minute documentary about the trip titled, 'Iwo Jima, A Final Tour.' The special program revealed the sacrifices, bravery and patriotism of these American heroes.

"Each veteran shared a story of valor, loss and love.

"'Iwo Jima, A Final Tour' meets Peabody consideration because, while other stations and networks covered the trip using ninety-second stories and video from a 'pool feed,' KMGH-TV was the only local station in the United States to actually accompany the veterans and fully document their emotional return to the island.

"The 13,000 mile trip was arduous as the men are now in their 80s and 90s and some are still affected by wounds suffered in WWII. To reach the island, the veterans and their support group had to overcome last-minute obstacles by the Japanese government as well as challenges with aircraft assigned to the journey. With no other available options the team ultimately had to sit, for hours, in the back of a military cargo plane.

"It was intensely emotional for the veterans as they once again stood on the island's beaches and recalled the violence of 1945. The veterans remembered the young Marines who never left Iwo Jima as they returned to the summit of Mt. Suribachi - the location of, arguably, the most famous war photograph in American history.

"The trip to Iwo Jima took three years of planning between KMGH-TV, The Greatest Generations Foundation and the Japanese government. Japan controls the island and its government has expressed wishes to abandon it. For that reason, it is believed the trip documented by KMGH will be the last to Iwo Jima by any American WWII veterans who had fought there.

"Aired with a single commercial break, 'Iwo Jima, A Final Tour' shows the heartache and joy of true American heroes and the commitment of KMGH-TV to make certain their stories are not lost."--2010 Peabody Awards entry form.

Corporate Producers: KMGH (Television station : Denver, Colo.)

Persons Appearing: Mitch Jelniker

Broadcast Date: 2010-05-31