SDP focuses on national politics with a special emphasis on South Dakota. It also includes posts on philosophy, science and culture. SDP was founded by Jason Van Beek, who stopped blogging after becoming a staffer for Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and is currently operated by Ken Blanchard.
A longtime reader of SDP alerts me to an article in South Dakota Magazine entitled "Unknown No More: Jack Thurman Takes His Place in Iwo Jima History." The story is about Sgt. Jack Thurman, one of the men who is in Joe Rosenthal's famous Iwo Jima photographs. He grew up on a dairy farm outside Mitchell, South Dakota, and enrolled at the Notre Dame School in Mitchell before volunteering for the Marines as soon as he turned eighteen-years-old (his father refused to sign the necessary paperwork when he was seventeen, saying he needed him on the farm). Last year during the University of Colorado's game against the Missouri Tigers, Thurman served as the honorary captain for the coin toss. Thurman, an architect by trade after his time in the service, helped design several of the buildings on the CU campus.
The South Dakota Magazine articles notes that every man in the photograph below was identified by Rosenthal except Thurman, who simply remained the "unknown" -- and remained unknown for fifty-five years. Thurman served with the Marine Corps 5th Division, 27th Regiment, but volunteered to help the 28th Regiment secure Mount Suribachi in 1945. He's currently working on a memoir of his military career, which I will anxiously keep an eye out for. Since I don't think I can legally reprint or redistribute a copy of the article, be sure to check out the March/April 2008 edition of South Dakota Magazine.
Thurman is on the far left of the photograph, waving his cap. Just in front of Thurman sits Ira Hayes. John Bradley, Franklin Sousey, and Mike Strank -- three others who appeared in the Iwo Jima flag-raising photo -- are also pictured here. Check out James Bradley's Flags of our Fathers for a personal look at the men involved in the flag raising. Bradley's book was later adopted for screenplay by Clint Eastwood, which I'm sure many of your saw.
I've blogged before about my research on the American Indian Movement and the murder of Anna Mae Aquash, a Mi'kmaq from Nova Scotia, Canada, who joined up with AIM at the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation. Her body was discovered on February 24, 1976, on the side of Highway 73 near Wanblee, South Dakota. There has always been suspicion as to whether AIM or the FBI was behind her murder. Recently, journalist Steve Hendricks has argued AIM killed her because they suspected she was an FBI informant. AIM maintains the FBI was behind her murder. In 2004, the a federal jury declared Arlo Looking Cloud, a former AIM activist, guilty of first-degree murder in the execution-style death of Aquash. A second man, John Graham, was also charged with first-degree murder and, since 2004, fought extradition from Canada until he was extradited on December 8, 2007. The Associated Pressreports that his trial will begin in Rapid City this coming June:
The second man charged with the 1975 slaying of an American Indian
Movement activist will stand trial in Rapid City starting June 17,
according to court documents.
John Graham, 52, was extradited
from Vancouver, British Columbia, on Dec. 8, four years after he was
arrested and charged with killing fellow AIM member Anna Mae Pictou
Aquash on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Her body was found in
February 1976 north of Wanblee with a gunshot wound to the head.
Graham pleaded innocent to first-degree murder in U.S. District Court in Rapid City and is being held in the county jail.
Attorney Marty Jackley said he was "looking forward to justice being
served in this matter for all those involved, including the family
members of Anna Mae Aquash."
Graham's lawyer, John Murphy of Rapid City, declined to comment.
Arlo Looking Cloud, a Lakota from Pine Ridge who had been living
homeless in Denver, was convicted in 2004 and received a mandatory life
At his trial, witnesses said Looking Cloud,
Graham and another AIM member, Theda Clark, drove Aquash from Denver
and that Graham shot Aquash in the Badlands as she begged for her life.
Clark has not been charged. She lives in a nursing home in western Nebraska and has refused to discuss the case.
a Southern Shoshone from the Yukon also known as John Boy Patton,
denies killing Aquash, though he acknowledged being in the car with her