On the Oscar broadcast last night, the announcer said that Letters From Iwo Jima sound editing co-winner Alan Robert Murray is the son of a Marine "survivor" of the battle of Iwo Jima. The Associated Press story uses the same term.
Nowadays one tends to think of a 'survivor' as a victim, someone who has managed to live through an affliction. Thus, we have survivors of breast cancer; of hurricanes and tsunamis; of child abuse; ... the list goes on. Countless people have indeed shown great courage and character in enduring such afflictions.
But I imagine, however, that Murray senior and his Marine comrades may well see themselves in a different light: not as victims of Iwo Jima, but as proud veterans of that battle.
(The few Japaneses soldiers who lived through the battle likewise merit the latter title.)