JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Freedom isn't free is the message from the oldest surviving officer from World War II's fiercest battle.
General Larry Snowden fought in three wars, and the general is as passionate about the reason he fought today as he was on a Pacific island in 1945.
Then Captain, now Marine, Snowden is the oldest surviving officer from the Pacific's fiercest battle.
"Second half of my platoon, I'm already over that ridge," said Snowden.
The flag hasn't been raised yet in this picture, when it was, Snowden said it wasn't as romantic then as it is now.
"I've read many accounts that says when the flag went up, the troops all over the island stood up and cheered," said Snowden. "No way. Not where I was, you stood up you were a dead Marine."
At 92, Snowden fought in three wars, he was wounded twice. At Iwo Jima, he held dying marines in his arms.
"I had a son just a year and half old, back in the states," said Snowden, "and I had the momentary flash about what it would mean to me if somebody was telling me that my son is dead."
General Snowden still keeps a hectic travel schedule, speaking on freedom and veterans. He said you can't have one without the other.
"Veterans are what brought us to freedom. Veterans are the ones who keep us free. Veterans are still fighting over seas, in people they don't know, in lands they don't know," Snowden said.
As America celebrates its independence with barbecues, picnics, and fireworks, Snowden's wish is that parents share the reason America is free with their children.
"You do what you want to do," said Snowden. "The high cost of freedom is just that, a very high cost."
Copyright 2013 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.