Monday, November 17, 2008

A Letter from a Former Teacher, Marine Capt. Pete Benavage, Iwo Jima Veteran

A low-resolution photo taken from page 74 of my 1976 Herndon High School yearbook of my teacher, Peter Benavage. The caption says he taught Social Studies, World Studies, and World Geography. He was Chairman of the World Geography Department. He had a BA degree from George Washington University, an M.A. from Catholic University, and did course work at the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina, and the College of William and Mary.

I got a big surprise today when I got home from work. There was a letter from my old high school history teacher, Mr. Benavage. I knew it was from him right away because the return address label had the famous image of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima on Mt. Suribachi on it. A month or so ago, I did a blog entry on my former teacher, remembering a story he told us about when he was a captain in the United States Marine Corps on Iwo Jima in 1945. Shortly thereafter, I heard from his grand daughter, and she put me back in touch. I sent him a copy of my book to salute his 'Untold Valor' but did not expect to hear from him. My teacher proved me wrong. He read my book, and he wrote back.

Seems Captain Benavage ended up a Major in the USMC. He retired from teaching at Herndon High School in 1984 and moved to a locale that did not have the traffic and population hassles of suburban Washington, DC.

It was great to hear from Mr. Benavage. He was a real hero of mine when I was in high school. He was one of the first World War Two veterans that I knew personally, and I was already very interested in the history of WWII at the time I met him.

Once again, this blog has reunited old friends. What a blessing.

We honor men such as you, Pete Benavage, for fighting to keep us free.
We'll never forget.
Right: The front of my 1976 Herndon High School Yearbook.

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