On December 17, 1944, Marine 1st Lt. Leonard Isacks penned a heartfelt Christmas letter to his two sons. He told them to help their mother around the house, and how, being so far away himself, that would be the best Christmas present he could imagine. In light of the German and Japanese aggression, he preached to his “little boys” to never be bullies and to stand up for “the smaller fellow.” He also urged his sons to “have courage to do the things that you think are right.”
Isacks, a New Orleans native, never got to deliver the lesson in person. He died just two months later, on February 21, 1945, after being mortally wounded when Japanese mortar fire hit his foxhole 300 yards from the beach at Iwo Jima. He left behind his wife and three children—two boys and one girl—and was buried at sea. Isacks, 34 at the time of his death, also earned a Purple Heart posthumously for his service.
Artifacts from Isacks can be viewed in the Island Hopping Gallery of theRoad To Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries