Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today introduced legislation that would rename the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Center in Tallahassee, Florida in honor of Marine Corps Sergeant Ernest “Boots” Thomas.
 
Thomas, who was posthumously presented the Navy Cross for his extraordinary heroism during action in World War II, was part of the original American flag raising atop Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi in 1945. A Florida native, Thomas first joined the Marines in 1942 shortly after the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor. He was killed in action on March 3, 1945, just days after the now-famous flag raising on Iwo Jima. Thomas was born in Tampa, Florida before moving with his family to Monticello at the age of eight. He graduated from Monticello High School in 1941. An image taken shortly after the second flag raising on Iwo Jima was used as the inspiration for the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial that now overlooks the nation’s capital in Arlington, VA.
 
If signed into law, the Health Care Center of the Department of Veterans Affairs, located at 2181 Orange Avenue in Tallahassee, Florida, will be known as the “Sergeant Ernest I. ‘Boots’ Thomas VA Clinic.”