The Battle of Iwo Jima, which began Feb. 19, 1945, was one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history, as former Cpl. Don Graves knows firsthand and will never forget.

He'll also never forget the time a Japanese soldier smelled hot chocolate being brewed near him and called out for him to bring him some. The moment, as he recounted in a video posted to the Marine Corps Facebook page Tuesday, was almost like the Christmas truce that wasn't.

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Associated Press photo by Joe Rosenthal

It’s an iconic photo recognizable the world over: A group of United States Marines cresting Mount Suribachi to plant their nation’s colors on Iwo Jima, as Old Glory snaps in the breeze. Now, a group of current and former Marines want to honor the man behind the 1945 image: Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola.

What started as a normal visit to a coffee shop Thursday morning turned into the honor of a lifetime as a 91-year-old Marine Corps veteran was awarded a Purple Heart — 72 years after being wounded.

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KA-BAR

Anytime American troops deploy, they’re sure to bring a few effects from home: A photo or two of loved ones, a hard drive of porn, enough cigarettes or dip to make their lungs and gums raw for a year, and of course, a knife. Often, one knife in particular: a KA-BAR.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alex A. Quiles

To Hershel “Woody” Williams, the Medal of Honor he wears around his neck does not belong to him. It’s not because he isn’t worthy of it, he undoubtedly is. For Williams, the medal belongs to the men who never made it home.

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Editor’s Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community, in June 2016.

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