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Block firmly rooted in American history

By Robert Proctor

Yorktown News-View

When talking about DeWitt County war heroes, it may be time to add Harlon Block’s name to that list. Block was one of five Marines and one Navy corpsman who helped raise the American flag at Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi during World War II. This piece of history was captured by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph.

Born on Nov. 6, 1924, Block was the son of Edward F. and Belle Brantley Block, who were both from Yorktown. Harlon, though, was born at his aunt and uncle’s, Arthur and Susie Brantley Block, home in Garfield, 10 miles west of Yorktown near the western corner of DeWitt County.

Only days after this picture was taken on March 1, 1945, Harlon was killed by a mortar shell at Nishi Ridge.

“He [Harlon] didn’t even know how famous he is,” Larry Nuckels said, co-chair of the history appreciation segment of the DeWitt County Historical Commission. “That’s the sad thing.”

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