Cecil Downey was only 17 when he joined the Marines. At 18, he helped his country end the Japanese western expansion at the Battle Of Midway. He was barely 20 when he was in the first wave to hit the shores of Iwo Jima, in that strategic battle to wrestle the island away from the Japanese.
Downey's company of 240 dwindled down to 85 in the heavy fighting. He was carrying a box of ammunition to fellow Marines on the hillside when he hit the land mine that was to take his legs. In and out of consciousness for weeks, Downey spent 22 months in a hospital recuperating and pondering his future without legs.
Difficult though it was, Downey went on to raise a family and establish a successful trophy saddle business. His sacrifice and the sacrifices of others on the island of Iwo Jima, provided a crucial victory in the War in the Pacific and the preservation of our freedom at home.