Ira Hayes


    The term hero according to Webster’s is “any person esp. a man, admired for courage, nobility, or exploits, esp. in war.”   That word will cause Ira Hayes to face a greater conflict than any battle that he fought during the war.   He now had to fight an internal war with his conscience where the only escape would be the bottle.   Ira Hayes never felt that he was a hero.   The men that he left on that volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific were the heroes, he was just lucky to survive.   As with most men who are declared heroes, he just felt that he had done his duty and answered the call of a nation to be a noble warrior.
    “At Sacaton, Arizona on January 12, 1923, Joe and Nancy Hayes were the parent of a newborn son.   Another Pima Indian had been brought into the world to carry on the proud traditions of his Tribe.   They named him Ira Hamilton Hayes.”[1]   Ira was the oldest of four sons.   His father was a farmer and “Ira’s mother was a strong dominating women who was the force of for her family.   She placed education high on her list of priorities, always visiting Ira’s school to check on his progress.”[2]   Racial prejudice was constants reminder to Ira that he would never be treated as an equal.
    “In 1940, when he was a teenager, Ira was sent to Phoenix Indian School, a government – run boarding school for Native American.”[3]   Ira was a shy boy and felt out of place.   Ira was very good at sports such as baseball and football, but his shyness kept him in the back ground.   The boarding school that Ira attended did not let the students go home during the year and Ira was extremely lonely and at night would write letter back home to his parents and brothers.   While at school Ira was an average student.
    “It was a quiet, lazy Sunday morning.   The date was December 7, 1941.   The American people went about their routines in a normal fashion.   Only several weeks remained until Christmas and most families were preparing...