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Memorandum for Fleet Admiral King
March 15, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]
I have received a letter from the Secretary of the Washington American League Baseball Club inviting me to participate in the opening of the baseball season on April 16 by marching with you and Clark Griffith to the flagpole at the end of the field in connection with the raising of the flag.1 I have been told that you had accepted.
It seems to me in the present state of the fighting that we are bound to get a pretty bad reaction from overseas following the inevitable publicity advertising our formal participation on the ball field in such a ceremony. There is a considerable difference between raising the flag at Griffith Park and raising it at Ehrenbreitstein or on Iwo Jima.2
I see no objection to possibly going to the game and sitting in a box but I don’t like this idea at the present time of being sucked into the publicity formalities of the procedure.
What is your reaction? Have you committed yourself?3
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Edward B. Eynon, Jr., had written on behalf of Clark C. Griffith, president of the baseball club, “to ask if you with Admiral Ernest J. King would officially open our Baseball Season by marching to the Flag on our Flag raising on Monday, April 16.” (Eynon to Marshall, March 12, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)
2. The U.S. Marines reached the summit of Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945, where the American flag was raised. While Marine combat photographer Louis R. Lowrey photographed the first flag raising, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took his well-publicized photograph as Marines replaced the initial flag with a larger one.
The Sixty-ninth Division captured the Luftwaffe citadel at Ehrenbreitstein, on the east bank of the Rhine River opposite Koblenz, on March 27. Nearly twenty-two years earlier, on April 23, 1923, the American flag had been lowered at the Ehrenbreitstein fortification, signifying the end of the occupation of Germany following the First World War. During a ceremony held on April 6, 1945 (Army Day), that same flag was raised over the fortress. (Pictorial History of the 69th Infantry Division: 15 May 1943 to 15 May 1945 [Germany: n.p., 1945], pp. 70-71.)
3. Admiral King agreed with Marshall’s memorandum and did not attend the game. (Frank McCarthy Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, March 17, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), p. 88.