A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Urshel Taylor’

Sacaton, Arizona

Posted by graywacke on July 17, 2010

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (then every-other-day blog and now a two-or-three-times a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  The general malaise continues, as I hang out at a 2/10 pace with this landing in . . . AZ; 78/71; 2/10; 8; 153.3.  Here’s my landing map, showing that I landed in the Gila River valley:


Here’s a broader view:


Here’s my GE shot, showing that the Gila River valley is dry as a bone:


Here’s a StreetView shot, looking north towards my landing, which is about a quarter mile away:


This was my 34th landing in the Gila R watershed; on to the Colorado (155th hit).  Here’s a picture of the bridge over the Gila at Olberg, just northwest of my landing:


So, besides Olberg (which is teeny), I landed close to the more substantial town of Sacaton.  From Wiki:

Sacaton (Pima: Geʼe Ki:) is in Pinal County, Arizona, United States.  The population was 1,584 at the 2000 census.  It is the capital of the Gila River Indian Community and is best known as the birthplace of Ira Hayes.

Ira Hayes’ name doesn’t ring a bell for me.  From Wiki:

Ira Hamilton Hayes (1923 – 1955) was a Pima Native American and an American Marine during who was one of the six men immortalized in the iconic photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II.  On February 19, 1945, Hayes participated in the landing at Iwo Jima and fought in the subsequent battle for the island.  On February 23 Hayes, together with fellow Marines Rene Gagnon, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, and Mike Strank, and Navy Corpsman John Bradley, raised the American flag over Mount Suribachi, an event photographed by Joe Rosenthal.

As a result of Rosenthal’s photograph Hayes and the others became national heroes in the United States. Hayes was never comfortable with his new-found fame, however, and after his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps he descended into alcoholism. He died of exposure on January 24, 1955 after a night of drinking, and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Hayes was often commemorated in art and film, both before and after his death. He is depicted in the Marine Corps War Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, based on the famous photograph, and he portrayed himself in the 1949 film Sands of Iwo Jima. His tragic story was the subject of the 1961 film The Outsider, and inspired Peter La Farge‘ song “The Ballad of Ira Hayes“. He was also depicted in the 2006 film Flags of Our Fathers.

Here’s the famous photo.  That’s Ira on the far left:


Here’s the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery (which shoes Ira just touching the flag, as opposed to the photo):


An artist named Urshel Taylor created this oil painting, entitled “The Real Ira Hayes:”

To see the website devoted to the above painting, click here:

Johnny Cash recorded “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” on the 1964 album “Bitter Tears.”  Here’s the album cover:


Here are the words.  If you want to hear the music, here’s a YouTube link:

THE BALLAD OF IRA HAYES

Ira Hayes,
Ira Hayes

[CHORUS:]
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won’t answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Gather round me people there’s a story I would tell
About a brave young Indian you should remember well
From the land of the Pima Indian
A proud and noble band
Who farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona land

Down the ditches for a thousand years
The water grew Ira’s peoples’ crops
‘Till the white man stole the water rights
And the sparklin’ water stopped

Now Ira’s folks were hungry
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came, Ira volunteered
And forgot the white man’s greed

[CHORUS:]
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won’t answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

There they battled up Iwo Jima’s hill,
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived to walk back down again

And when the fight was over
And when Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was the Indian, Ira Hayes

[CHORUS:]
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won’t answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Ira Hayes returned a hero
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored;

Everybody shook his hand

But he was just a Pima Indian
No water, no home, no chance
At home nobody cared what Ira’d done
And when did the Indians dance?

[CHORUS:]
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won’t answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Then Ira started drinkin’ hard;
Jail was often his home
They’d let him raise the flag and lower it
Like you’d throw a dog a bone!

He died drunk one mornin’
Alone in the land he fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes

CHORUS:]
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won’t answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes
But his land is just as dry
And his ghost is lyin’ thirsty
In the ditch where Ira died

I like the way Peter LaFarge wrote about the Indians farming the valley before the white man dried up the river.  Anyway, Cash also released the song as a single.  It didn’t get much play on the radio.  In response, Cash bought a full-page ad in Billboard:

DJs, station managers, owners, etc., where are your guts? I’m not afraid to sing the hard bitter lines that the song of Peter La Farge wrote … Classify me, categorize me — STIFLE me, but it won’t work … I am fighting no particular cause. If I did it would soon make me a sluggard. For as time changes, I change. You’re right! Teenage girls and Beatle-record buyers don’t want to hear the sad story of Ira Hayes — but who cries more easily, and who always goes to sad movies to cry??? Teenage girls. Some of you “Top 40” DJs went all out for this at first. Thanks anyway. Maybe the program director or station manager will reconsider. This ad (go ahead and call it that) costs like hell. Would you, or those pulling the strings for you, go to the mike with a new approach? That is, listen to the record again?

Regardless of the trade charts — the categorizing, classifying and restrictions of airplay, this is not a country song, not as it is being sold. It is a fine reason for the gutless to give it the thumbs down. ‘Ballad of Ira Hayes’ is strong medicine. So is Rochester — Harlem — Birmingham and Vietnam … I’ve blown my horn now; just this once, then no more. Since I’ve said these things now, I find myself not caring if the record is programmed or not. I won’t ask you to cram it down their throats. But … I had to fight back when I realized that so many stations are afraid of “The Ballad of Ira Hayes.” Just one question: WHY????

I’ll close with this GE Panaramio shot looking north past my landing:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

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