We went to see Flags of Our Fathers last weekend, and it was great. The performances by the three Iwo Jima veterans who were paraded around the country to raise money for the war were all excellent, especially Ryan Phillippe as John Bradley and Adam Beach as Ira Hayes.
I’ve been fascinated with the Ira Hayes story since I was a kid when I first heard the Johnny Cash version of “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” (I’m not too thrilled with this video, but it’s all I could find).
The song was written by Peter La Farge, who was a Native American folk singer in the 50’s and 60’s. His story is almost as compelling, as he fought the same kinds of prejudice to get his career going. Later, his stubborn refusal to bow to either the changing tastes of the public or the folk establishment caused him even more grief. He died young, from a stroke, in 1965.