Exploring Peleliu 60 Years After the Battle

By: George Thomas

This article first appeared in The Old Breed News, The Official Publication of the 1st Marine Division Association, Vol. LIV, Number 6

 

Peleliu WWII Museum
The museum could be the salvation for the numerous war relics that litter the island.
Marine Corps monument on Bloody Nose Ridge
The Marine Corps monument on Bloody Nose Ridge. Behind is the Horseshoe which is difficult to recognize from actual battle photos. The island is now lush green but the artifacts of war are easily found.

Final Thoughts

I was asked at the end of my trip if I was able to obtain closure regarding my uncle. Absolutely not, I want to learn more and meet a Marine who knew my uncle. My quest continues.

 

Preserving the Memory

As Jim Pilkington mentioned, Peleliu is probably the most preserved battlefield in the Pacific which is remarkable since 60 years have passed. However, the war relics will eventually rust to oblivion if nothing is done. The Peleliu WW II Memorial Museum could be the battle's salvation, but it is grossly underfunded.

The Peleliu state is not in a position to adequately fund a museum that is mostly of interest to battle veterans and their families. Organizations like the 1st Marine Division Association should sponsor the museum through a financial contribution. History books have forgotten the Peleliu battle and hardly mentioned it in the conquest of Japan. Both the Marine Corps and Army have monuments on the island, near Japan 's larger monument. On the grounds of the museum, the Japanese have another monument dedicated to peace. I have no issue with the Japanese's impressive monuments to honor their dead and to promote peace, but I think we can do better in preserving the memory of all Americans who sacrificed on Peleliu.