Sunday marked the 72nd anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima.

“I never thought I was going to live this long” said Edwin Hunsberger, who was there and fought in the battle. “I was there for the first flag at a put up. Then, they sent the word around the island. Most of the people couldn’t see the flag. It was too small, so they went and got a larger flag, and now that’s the flag that everybody sees today.”

Hunsberger said the fighting really got intense after the flag was raised, and he lost a lot of good friends as a result.

“It was really bad. There was no really safe place on the island,” said Hunsberger.

But now, Hunsberger has the chance to return to that island, this time, on his own terms and with the help of so many from his community.

“To help him get back there. This time, to go back in peace, and to be able to walk around and relive it one more time. If that’s what he wants to do, then we want to help him do it,” said Timothy Parsons with the Lehigh Valley chapter of the Nam Knights.

“I feel like I should go now or may not be able to go after this because of my age,” Hunsberger added.

On Sunday, the Nam Knights gave Hunsberger a $3,000 check toward the trip he wants to take in March to Iwo Jima.

“He’s going to live a lot of memories. It’s going to be a lot harder than people would think for him to go back there to see and do that, but I think he has to do it for himself,” said Parsons.

“I really appreciate it. If it wouldn’t be for them able to go,” added Hunsberger

The goal is to raise $11,000. With the help of the Nam Nights and a GoFundMe account, Hunsberger is now just a few thousand dollars short.