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Widow of Wis. Hero to See Eastwood Film

October 17, 2006

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) _ Elizabeth Bradley’s husband was among the servicemen who helped hoist the American flag at Iwo Jima, but the couple rarely talked about the moment captured in one of the most famous of all military photographs.

``Our life did not revolve around the flag-raising after we were married,″ she said.

On Wednesday, the 82-year-old Bradley plans to join about 200 invited guests for a screening of ``Flags of Our Fathers,″ the Clint Eastwood film based on the book of the same name co-authored by Bradley’s son, Jim.

``From what I have heard from other authorities, it is going to turn out to be a wonderful movie,″ Elizabeth Bradley said in a telephone interview from her Wausau home. ``I am not nervous. We did see Ryan Phillippe play in some scenes. I think he is doing a marvelous job.″

Phillippe portrays John Bradley, a Navy Corpsman. The film documents the lives of Bradley and the five Marines who raised the flag atop Iwo Jima’s highest peak on Feb. 23, 1945 _ an historic moment captured by Joe Rosenthal, an Associated Press photographer, in a Pulitzer Prize-winning picture.

Bradley said her husband shared very little about the event after the war. Her son’s book likely would never have been written had the family not discovered boxes of memorabilia after her husband’s death, she said.

``That is what started my son’s writing,″ she said. ``If my husband was still living, we never would have found those boxes.″

``Flags of Our Fathers″ opens nationwide at theaters Friday. Its premiere was Oct. 9 in Los Angeles, and some reviewers are predicting another Oscar nomination for Eastwood. Wednesday’s screening will be held in Antigo _ 40 miles northeast of Wausau.

The film examines both the ghastly chaos of battle to life on the homefront in a story about both heroism and propaganda.

Bradley said she went to Chicago with some of her children for a day last October to watch some of the scenes being shot. She also met Eastwood.

``I have a lot of respect for him,″ she said.

Although her husband didn’t want attention for being one of the flag-raisers, she would like people to see the film.

``I am very happy that the movie has been made,″ she said. ``And I would like it if every young fella and girl could see it because when they think of joining up any branch of the service, they think of the uniform and of how smart they will look. And they think of the excitement of going to battle.

``But they don’t really know what’s ahead of them. But if they see movies like this, it might help them make a better decision. And maybe if nobody would go, we wouldn’t have wars. That would be nice.″


On the Net:

``Flags of Our Fathers″: www.flagsofourfathers.com

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