Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tootsie, Keats, Iwo

On this day in history, February 23...

Romantic poet John Keats died...

Here he contemplates the ribald action
 painted on the surface of a Greek urn:

"What men or gods are these?  What maidens loth? 
What mad pursuit?  What struggle to escape? 
        What pipes and timbrels?  What wild ecstasy?
Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;" 

Let us now contemplate the lowly Tootsie-Roll,
also concocted on this day.

Invented in 1896 and named after 
the confectioner's daughter "Tootsie," 
this hardy sweet became a staple in soldiers' meal 
kits because it would not easily melt.

The humble candy may have been on 
the island of Iwo Jima. On this day the American 
flag was raised on Mt. Suribachi. This savage battle took 
the lives of 21,569 Japanese and 6,821 Americans. 
Only 216 Japanese were captured alive. Allied casualties 
were greater here than during the D-Day landing.

Contrary to popular belief, photographer 
Joe Rosenthal's historic Pulitzer Prize winning image of the 
raising of the Stars and Strips was indeed 
posed and marked the second time 
the flag was raised on the mountaintop. The first raising 
(below) was captured by Marine Sergeant Louis Lowery, 
a photographer with Leatherneck magazine.