|“Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue”|
(Photo by Joe Rosenthal)
|Михал Стренк / Mychal Strenk|
Born in 1919 in Jarabina, Czechoslovakia;
Came to the U.S. in 1922, known as Michael Strank;
Died in 1945 on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands;
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, USA.
Sergeant Michael Strank (1919-1945) was one of the five Marines and a Navy corpsman who during the battle with the Japanese on February 23, 1945, raised the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima in the Pacific theatre of World War II. The photo of this event, taken by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal, became one of the most recognized images of the 20th century, and in it, Mike stands for the legions of Rusyns who, like him, left their Carpathian Mountain homeland, full of hopes and dreams, to begin a new life in America – the country for which many of them and their children would give the supreme sacrifice.
Mike Strank (Mychal Strenk) was born in 1919 in the Rusyn village of Orjabyna [official name: Jarabina] in the heart of the Rusyn-inhabited northern Spiš County in present-day Slovakia. His parents, Vasyl' and Marta (Grofik) Strenk, came to the United States with young Mychal in the early 1920s and settled in Franklin Borough, near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, with many of their fellow villagers from Orjabyna. They attended Holy Trinity Rusyn Greek Catholic Church just across the river in Conemaugh.
|Holy Trinity Greek Catholic Church in Conemaugh, the Strank family's spiritual home in the U.S.|