Few Who Survived Iwo Jima Salute 6,891 Who Didn't

--World War II veterans of Iwo Jima gathered over the weekend in the Civil War-era town of Vicksburg, Miss., to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of the Japanese-held island. More than 600 Marines, sailors and their families joined in the reunion, which was organized by Vernon Hammons, a Mississippi sheriff's deputy who was wounded at Iwo Jima, as an affordable alternative to the privately sponsored trip to the battle site planned for Tuesday, the actual anniversary. Charles Huff of Leesburg, Ga., said most of the men in his company were killed in the fighting. "There were 243 enlisted and seven officers in Company H when we jumped off, and of that original outfit, only 14 of us made it," Huff said. The Marines suffered 6,891 deaths during the 36-day battle at the key Japanese fortress in the Western Pacific. For Bill King, the reunion was a painful memory, especially of the many letters he wrote to families of the men he led who died. He said, "When we landed, I only thought of (the Japanese) as enemies, but that changed when I took a wallet off a dead Japanese and inside were pictures of his wife and boy. I suddenly realized that our enemies were also human beings."

--It is good idea time at the Fort Wayne, Ind., Police Department. In an effort to get back in touch with the public, the police established precinct headquarters at the Southtown Mall Center. A leaky roof and other substandard conditions, including insufficient parking space at the original precinct, prompted officials to seek a new location. Finding space for 300 officers, equipment and 200 vehicles wasn't easy. "We were looking for a facility to help us get where the people are," said Assistant Chief David Racine. "What better place to find the public than at a shopping center?" Operators of the mall donated 3,200 square feet of space for the police station, and in return the police now provide free security for the mall. The precinct houses a model Crime Prevention Bureau that provides tips about home security and safety.

--Pope John Paul II will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres in a private audience Tuesday at the Vatican. It's only the second meeting ever between a Pope and a head of the Israeli government. The first was between the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and the late Pope Paul VI on Jan. 15, 1973. Sources said the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Israel is expected to be discussed.

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