WALLOWA — A wooden carved replica of the Iwo Jima flag-raising during World War II was on display in Wallowa during Memorial Day weekend.
But for those who missed it, it will be back soon.
Laureano Mier, owner of Milenckos Aero Cafe in Wallowa, had the wood carving displayed in front of his cafe and museum on the corner of East 1st Street and Holmes on the east edge of town.
“It’s an honor,” Mier said. “It’s truly an honor to be able to display that here in Wallowa, Oregon.”
The wood carving, done in about 2008 or 2009 by Jesse Leavitt, is a memorial to World War II veteran Howard “Stubbs” Brandon. Brandon was not among the six individuals who raised the flag on Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945 — forever immortalized in the iconic photo — but was among those who died fighting on Iwo Jima, being killed in action two weeks later on March 9.
His sacrifice inspired his brother, P.E. “Gunny” Brandon, who went on to have a decorated military career in the Marines and who fought in numerous conflicts.
Mier called Gunny Brandon, who died in 2016, a “very dear friend.” He said the Brandon family wanted the memorial put on display, and Mier was more than happy to have it up in Wallowa.
“A very special thank you to the Brandon family and their estate for letting us display this rich Marine Corps history here in Wallowa, Oregon,” he said.
The carving was one of two on display for the weekend tied to Gunny Brandon. The other — of soldiers saluting Marilyn Monroe — is in the back of Brandon’s personal vehicle from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines.
Mier has more items connected to both Brandons, too.
“We also have the original notification to the family, the telegraph” of Stubbs Brandon’s death at Iwo Jima, Mier said. He also has a copy of Gunny Brandon’s book, “Gunny,” which he wrote late in his life.
“Our whole focus here is kids and family, and sharing history,” Mier said of Milenckos. “Rich American history. That’s critical.”
Mier said the Iwo Jima Memorial to Howard Brandon will be on display again on Independence Day.
“We’ll be bringing it back on the Fourth of July,” he said. “One of the things the Brandon family loves, and so did Gunny, was parades, and celebrating American history. They are very happy to know that his history and the history of Howard ‘Stubbs’ Brandon is being shared in the all-American city of Wallowa.”