IBEW War Hero Honored at July Fourth Ceremony
July 7, 2008
A 725-pound bronze statue honoring World War II veteran and IBEW member Charles “Chuck” Lindberg was unveiled on Independence Day at a new veteran’s memorial in Richfield, Minn.
“This memorial does great justice to Chuck’s memory,” said Minneapolis Local 292 Business Representative Brian Peterson. “He was one of our own – honest, hardworking, and civic minded.”
Lindberg was the last surviving member of the original group of Marines who raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi, Japan, after a month-long battle that claimed the lives of nearly 7,000 Americans. A few hours later, however, Lindberg’s flag came down and a larger replacement flag was put up by a different team of Marines. The iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of that event was captured by Joe Rosenthal, and the history of the first flag-raising was buried for decades.
“We have a unique opportunity at this time to rewrite and correct some American history with this monument,” Peterson said.
Following his service in the war, Lindberg enjoyed four decades as a journeyman wireman and member of Local 292. A longtime Richfield resident, Lindberg died a year ago at the age of 86, shortly after the dedication of the Charles “Chuck” W. Lindberg JATC 292 Electrical Training Center.
The memorial is designed as a dedication to the members of all branches of the armed forces past and present. A coalition of businesses and organizations from Richfield came together last year to develop the project, and union workers first broke ground on the site on Memorial Day of 2007. Friday’s ceremony showcasing Lindberg’s statue was just the first phase in an evolving project that will take years to complete.
While all of the five Marines from the first flag-raising are memorialized at the site, Peterson said that the statue of Lindberg makes the perfect centerpiece.
“When you look at those pictures from the first flag-raising, you can just see that Chuck was a leader,” Peterson said. “You see the determination in his eyes. I’m confidant that the statue conveys that.”
Lindberg’s wife Vi and three of their five children were on hand for the public ceremony. Their son Rodney sang “Fallen, Not Forgotten” by Christian singer-songwriter Ray Boltz, and the children raised an American flag that flies above the statue.
“Charles was a very humble person, but I think he would be extremely honored to see the memorial,” Vi Lindberg said. “There are several memorials to Marines across the nation, and I’m happy that this one is in our hometown so I can visit it.”
For more information, visit www.richfieldveteransmemorial.org.