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Iwo Jima: ‘The Ghastly Price of Freedom’
Breitbart's Big Peace ^ | February 21, 2014 | Jarrett Stepman

Posted on 02/21/2014 3:11:14 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

This Wednesday, February 19, marked the 69th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima. One of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific War and all of World War II, the month-long slug-fest between American and Japanese forces in many ways set the stage for the firebombing of Japan and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In the final stages of the fighting, an iconic picture was taken of U.S. Marines and a Navy corpsman raising an American flag atop Mount Surabachi, an image that perfectly captured American resolve and military strength.

The men that raised the flag were Cpl. Harlon Block, Navy Pharmacist’s Mate John Bradley, Cpl. Rene Gagnon, PFC Franklin Sousley, Sgt. Michael Strank, and Cpl. Ira Hayes. Strank, Sousley, and Block were killed before the fighting ended. Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize for the photograph, and it became the inspiration for the Iwo Jima memorial in Washington, D.C....

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Japan
KEYWORDS: marines; truman; usmc; worldwarii
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1 posted on 02/21/2014 3:11:14 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

President Ronald Reagan:

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.
It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same,
or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children
and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
"

2 posted on 02/21/2014 3:15:09 PM PST by Diogenesis
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Incomparable Sacrifice.

Would that it weren’t unnecessary.

Iwo Jima should have been bypassed.

https://www.google.com/search?q=iwo+jima+military+incompetence


3 posted on 02/21/2014 3:29:05 PM PST by CharlesOConnell (CharlesOConnell)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The reality of unrelenting, horrific casualties that had become commonplace in the war against Japan convinced President Truman and American top brass that usage of the secret atomic weapons would be necessary to end the war.

Thank God for the Atom Bomb.


4 posted on 02/21/2014 3:35:40 PM PST by caveat emptor (!)
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To: caveat emptor

Funny. Paul Fussell is quite antiwar and rather anti US, as most academics. A genius in the field of literature and poetry. Everything he writes is well written and worth reading.


5 posted on 02/21/2014 3:41:07 PM PST by rey
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To: caveat emptor

Saved my dad’s life. He was wrapping things up on Okinawa when they were dropped. Where do you think his next stop would’ve been?


6 posted on 02/21/2014 3:41:09 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Sarah Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: CharlesOConnell

One of the reasons Iwo was taken was to be an emergency landing field for the B-29’s that were bombing Japan. Before the island was secured, several of our planes made emergency landings there. The decision was made at the time with the conditions that existed at the time.


7 posted on 02/21/2014 3:42:49 PM PST by Texas resident
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

They raised the flag twice ofcourse. I talked to a pipefitter that was at Iwo Jima and he told me that he fashioned a flag staff but he never knew if it is the one pictured.
I tried to buy the man a drink and I thanked him for his service but he told me he didn’t do anything and that I didn’t need to buy him a drink.


8 posted on 02/21/2014 3:43:06 PM PST by South Dakota (shut up and build a bakken pipe line)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My father too. He was already beginning to train for the invasion of Japan.

He is 88 now.


9 posted on 02/21/2014 3:47:02 PM PST by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
In the final stages of the fighting, an iconic picture was taken of U.S. Marines and a Navy corpsman raising an American flag atop Mount Surabachi

My Dad was a Pharmacist's Mate i.e. Corpsman i.e. Medic in that invasion. He was only on Iwo for the first six days, but on day one was mortared back into the Pacific and had to land again an hour later.

He accompanied a dying Marine back to his transport (USS Mellette) on the sixth or seventh day. They had so many wounded men to care for that his Chief said, "You aren't going anywhere." He said he didn't argue the point. It was something like 96 hours before he was able to try sleeping again.

That iconic picture was taken about day 3 of a five week battle, not at the closing stages. The plan was that Iwo would be captured in about 3 days. My Dad said you can't imagine the euphoria that waved among the Navy and Marine men when that flag started to wave. Still, the issue had barely begun.

My Dad had a bazillion great sea stories. Some may have been true. I never sensed exaggeration in his stories of the harshness of that invasion.

10 posted on 02/21/2014 3:48:34 PM PST by stevem
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To: stevem

God bless your father. He was a hero.


11 posted on 02/21/2014 3:49:43 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Texas Fossil

Mine passed in 2002.


12 posted on 02/21/2014 3:52:12 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Sarah Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Mine too.


13 posted on 02/21/2014 3:55:13 PM PST by null and void (<--- unwilling cattle-car passenger on the bullet train to serfdom)
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To: South Dakota
I tried to buy the man a drink and I thanked him for his service but he told me he didn’t do anything and that I didn’t need to buy him a drink.

Former Marine here, don't have half the cred that he does- but it always feels weird when people do that. I understand his answer.

After duty one day in the Eighties I made the mistake of wandering into a Country bar in my summer-service charlies. Was tired, grumpy and thirsty. Meant to have one or two and go home and get out of my clothes and switch off.

I crawled in the door of the condo I was renting with a civvie friend at about 1:00 AM with the same amount of money in my wallet that I had when I secured from duty. Anytime my hand went anywhere near my wallet, someone I'd never met would put a reload in my paw. I want country bar people as my A-Gunners, next time around. LOL

14 posted on 02/21/2014 3:58:24 PM PST by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: stevem

You are correct on the timing of the flag raising. Most folks are completely clueless about the reason for taking Iwo. It was a forward operating base for P-51 Mustangs to escort the B-29’s to Japan on bombing missions. I got to talk to one of the first Mustang pilots to land there. About 1 month into the operation the few remaining Japanese swarmed the airbase at dawn. It was bloody hand to hand combat. Mustang pilots, mechanics and staff vs. Japanese infantry.


15 posted on 02/21/2014 4:00:16 PM PST by PilotDave (No, really, you just can't make this stuff up!!!)
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To: PilotDave

http://www.amazon.com/Range-Mustang-Units-Pacific-Aviation/dp/1846030420/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1393028099&sr=8-2-fkmr1&keywords=U.S.+Mustangs+Iwo+Jima


16 posted on 02/21/2014 4:14:56 PM PST by LeoWindhorse
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Sorry.


17 posted on 02/21/2014 4:16:09 PM PST by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: PilotDave; Texas Fossil; stevem

Living history — another reason I love FR.


18 posted on 02/21/2014 4:21:27 PM PST by workerbee (The President of the United States is DOMESTIC ENEMY #1!)
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To: CharlesOConnell
Would that it weren’t unnecessary. Iwo Jima should have been bypassed.

Too many negs in the first sentence, too much past-posting in the second. It should've been gassed; it wasn't, should've been prepped longer; it wasn't. Men taking it had no say, but they took it anyway.

19 posted on 02/21/2014 4:22:33 PM PST by xone
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To: Diogenesis

A lot of folk miss the tactical significance of Suribachi being taken out of the Japanese inventory.

The Mt. gave the Japanese overwatch on the entire island, including the beaches. It was also a fortified platform with much artillery in armored bunkers and caves from which the guns could fire.

When the mt. fell, a significant portion of the indirect fire, heavy arty, was lifted from the beaches which allowed greater log flow to the Marines ashore.

It also deprived the Japanese from an observation post from which all USMC movements ashore could be watched and reported.

PS.

For those interested, Lions of Iwo Jima is a good read.

http://www.amazon.com/Lions-Jima-John-MacRae-Books/dp/0805090177


20 posted on 02/21/2014 4:24:05 PM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Surprisingly this hasn't been posted.

 photo lflage_zps09ccd066.gif

21 posted on 02/21/2014 4:30:32 PM PST by Zeneta (Thoughts in time and out of season.)
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To: stevem; All

My uncle, my mom’s baby brother, was 17 years old.

He was the second wave to hit the beach on that first day. After surviving, one of his jobs was to guard the bodies of the dead, so their belongings would not be stolen.

He committed suicide in his mid thirties, leaving behind his young wife and two small children. He never recovered from the horrors of that day.


22 posted on 02/21/2014 4:30:33 PM PST by jacquej ("It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others and to forget his own.")
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To: workerbee

Yes, most on FR truly love our military.

One of my father’s close high school friends was in the Airborne. He jumped behind the lines in Normandy, into Holland and was trucked into the Bulge. Wife and I became very close friends with he and his wife when he was doing his Doctorate work. Wife and I were just finishing college.

He was one tough little guy. They lived in AK for many years, then retired back in Texas.

When his widow needed to move into a care home, we bought their house. Still live in it.


23 posted on 02/21/2014 4:31:50 PM PST by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: Texas Fossil

My grandmother’s only brother died at the Battle of the Bulge, age 19. So incomprehensible to think of those kinds of casualties now.... hundreds or thousands of men every battle.


24 posted on 02/21/2014 4:37:15 PM PST by workerbee (The President of the United States is DOMESTIC ENEMY #1!)
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To: Riley

That’s the way it should be.

Thanks for your service, FRiend.


25 posted on 02/21/2014 4:39:28 PM PST by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: Texas resident
I read or heard in a documentary that basically we traded Marine casualties for Air Corps casualties in that the number of airmen who were saved by being able to land at Iwo and who would have died had that not been possible was greater than the number of Marines lost taking it.

I've always wondered if that was true or another one of the rationalizations someone came up with after the fact. I do realize, however, that since very few people knew about the bomb the island was taken with a much longer and more costly air campaign in mind. The aircrew casualties they were expecting are another group of lives the bomb spared.

26 posted on 02/21/2014 4:43:37 PM PST by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: workerbee

I figured it out once, a man was killed every 7.4 minutes on Iwo Jima for 35 days, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Staggering.


27 posted on 02/21/2014 4:46:55 PM PST by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yeah, my dad also. He was Infantry on a troop ship, surrounded by cruisers and carriers to the horizon, sailing around in circles ready to invade Japan when the atomic bombings were announced.

In August 2002 I was able to thank Paul Tibbets, Pilot of Enola Gay, for what he did. He replied: “Glad your father was able to come home! I appreciate your contacting me!” I still have the printout of the email.


28 posted on 02/21/2014 4:54:47 PM PST by Unknowing (Now is the time for all smart little girls to come to the aid of their country.)
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To: rlmorel

Ah, feel weird again.

Good story for you. I am in the DC area and ride a motorcycle. When I rode in Rolling Thunder the year before last, I got off of the track at the end and ended up on surface streets, feeling my way back toward the Thunder Alley area. At one point I had to park, cool off and water down. I bumped into some Aussies (God bless ‘em) who were here on their first visit to the US. The husband was very frank. “I never wanted to come to the US. I got talked into it. But I have to admit, I wish that Oz held their veterans in the same regard that Americans do”.

I was moved by that.

When I ride Rolling Thunder, I’m on the road early-early. Even when it’s chilly and barely light, riding I-395 up towards the Pentagon, there’ll be civilians on the overpasses, up out of their warm beds, with American flags, out there with their whole families, waving to me.

My goggles have some kind of issue, they get blurry. I remember thinking, these are my people. This is my tribe.

I couldn’t be more proud of them.


29 posted on 02/21/2014 4:57:23 PM PST by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

There were 21,000+/- Japanese when the US Marines went ashore, When the island was declared secure there were less than 1000 Japanese that had surrendered or were taken prisoner left alive. “History of United States Naval Operations in WWII by ADM Samuel Eliot Morison volume XIV”. First chapter of a thick analog book.


30 posted on 02/21/2014 5:04:16 PM PST by mongo141 (Revolution ver. 2.0, just a matter of when, not a matter of if!)
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To: Riley; rlmorel

Honor, Duty, Country.

I would add Family.

These are concepts that are being undermined by the left.

They attack our military and gun owners as if those are the people that bring death.

They don’t understand.

They embrace the death cult of abortion and communism as if their version of killing is more honorable than the altruism of those that fight and die for Liberty.

Honor.

They don’t understand this concept.


31 posted on 02/21/2014 5:06:19 PM PST by Zeneta (Thoughts in time and out of season.)
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To: Grimmy
Also and not insignificant, it was the first battle on what was considered “Japanese” soil.
32 posted on 02/21/2014 5:20:57 PM PST by stylin19a (Obama ----> Fredo smart)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Same with my father. I am certain your father, mine and countless thousands of other American servicemen would not have survived. Nuking Japan saved millions of lives on both sides.


33 posted on 02/21/2014 5:25:21 PM PST by wjcsux ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
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To: stevem

Another error in the Brietbart piece...they use an early photo that identified Henry Hansen as one of the flag-raisers, not Harlan Block. It actually took more than a year to correct that mistake. Hansen actually took part in the first flag-raising, and that ensign was replaced a short time later by larger flag, raised by Strank, Sousley, Gagnon, Hayes, Bradley and Block.

Admiral Nimitz said it best: Iwo was a place where “uncommon valor was a common virtue.”


34 posted on 02/21/2014 5:41:48 PM PST by ExNewsExSpook
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To: Rashputin

Along with being a staging base for P-51s escorting B-29s over Japan, Iwo was also an emergency field for Superforts that were damaged and unable to make it back to their bases on Guam and neighboring islands.

The first battle-damaged B-29 landed on Iwo while the battle was still raging. The aircrew jumped out of the plane, and kissed the ground, happy to be on land and not in the Pacific. A group of Marines that witnessed the celebration shook their heads in disbelief


35 posted on 02/21/2014 5:48:54 PM PST by ExNewsExSpook
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The US gave Iwo back to the Japanese years ago. I was against this as the price we paid for it was too dear.


36 posted on 02/21/2014 5:51:41 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need 7+ more ammo. LOTS MORE.)
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To: stylin19a

The Japanese considered Saipan to be their own, and had a decent sized Japanese civilian pop there, iirc.


37 posted on 02/21/2014 5:56:21 PM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: jacquej
Old Glory no longer flies over Suribachi. Since 1968, the Meatball has flown over the island.
38 posted on 02/21/2014 5:58:03 PM PST by Fiji Hill
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To: rlmorel

It is staggering. The casualties of past wars boggle the imagination.

I had an uncle die at Anzio.

I had an uncle that survived Iwo Jima. He never talked about the war...but for some reason a couple of months before he died...he wanted to talk. He talked about how hard the landing was and how almost impossible the invasion was. But they won.

I hung up the phone and cried.


39 posted on 02/21/2014 6:00:12 PM PST by berdie
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Now, for a musical interlude:
40 posted on 02/21/2014 6:08:41 PM PST by Fiji Hill
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To: PilotDave

I believe they also had crippled bombers land on the captured airfields while the battle was in progress.


41 posted on 02/21/2014 6:16:07 PM PST by stevem
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My neighbor an anti-nuke lefty was on his way to Japan. Seventeen at the time. Saved his sorry ass.


42 posted on 02/21/2014 6:23:53 PM PST by caveat emptor (!)
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To: Unknowing
I was privileged to meet Mr. Tibbets several times during his time at ExecJet, and I cherish a signed copy of his book.

He was a gentleman in all his business dealings, he simply exuded honest character.

43 posted on 02/21/2014 6:34:01 PM PST by diogenes ghost
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To: CharlesOConnell

Not a bad argument. Boils down to hindsight being 20/20. Too many bosses with different agendas


44 posted on 02/21/2014 7:01:00 PM PST by Figment
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

my great uncle died on Iwo Jima.

God bless you Sir, and Semper Fi.


45 posted on 02/21/2014 8:08:14 PM PST by Shadowstrike (Be polite, Be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My brother was killed on Okinawa. A few months later I was on Leyte getting outfitted for the invasion of Japan. I was very angry about my brothers death and can honestly say I was looking for revenge. However,some common sense thinking told me the bombs were good for our side, so no regrets to this day as to use of the bombs. I have no sympathy for the people of Japan at that time.


46 posted on 02/21/2014 9:38:31 PM PST by noinfringers2 ( /*)
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To: jacquej
My uncle, my mom’s baby brother, was 17 years old...He was the second wave to hit the beach on that first day. After surviving, one of his jobs was to guard the bodies of the dead, so their belongings would not be stolen.

I've often been terrified that I would not have had the sand needed to do what these guys did and keep moving forward straight into the fire of hell. Those of us who were never "there" probably can't fathom in our worst nightmare what hell really looks like.

Your uncle paid the ultimate price because he did what he had to do at the time in his life when he was really needed. That sentiment is for every man or woman who faces his or her crucible and keeps forging ahead when that crucible becomes his or her destination.

47 posted on 02/21/2014 9:53:43 PM PST by stevem
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To: Riley

That is a great story. If there was ever a reason I would ride a motorcycle, it would be with Rolling Thunder.


48 posted on 02/21/2014 10:01:57 PM PST by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: Zeneta

They are indeed being undermined by the Left. Damn all of them. All of them.


49 posted on 02/21/2014 10:02:44 PM PST by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: Texas resident; CharlesOConnell; Rashputin
One of the reasons Iwo was taken was to be an emergency landing field for the B-29’s that were bombing Japan. Before the island was secured, several of our planes made emergency landings there. The decision was made at the time with the conditions that existed at the time.

It was also an early warning outpost for raids and a base for fighters that attacked the inbound and outbound bombers. Could it have been bypassed? Probably, with the acceptance of greater Air Corps casualties. Would those casualties have equaled the Marine Corps and Navy casualties in taking the island? We can argue now until the cows come home, but remember in February 1945 the atomic bomb had still not been tested, and it was not known how long the bombing campaign would continue.

50 posted on 02/21/2014 11:30:44 PM PST by GATOR NAVY
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