Iwo Jima (JFK+50) During the Battle of Iwo Jima seventy years ago today, February 23, 1945, United States Marines captured the crest of the island's highest peak, Mount Suribachi.
Two groups of Marines, of the 3rd platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Division, raised a pair of American flags at the top.
The first flag raisers were photographed by Louis Lowery and a few hours later a second flag raising was captured on film by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal.*
Rosenthal would win the Pulitzer Prize for his famous photograph which was to become the model for the US Marine Corps War Memorial.
The War Memorial, located near Rosslyn, Virginia, was dedicated in 1954.
President John F. Kennedy issued a proclamation in 1961 which provides for the American Flag to fly from the memorial 24 hours a day.
The Marine Corps War Memorial honors all Marines who have died in battle since 1775. On the base of the memorial is a quote from Admiral Chester Nimitz who honored the American Marines on Iwo Jima:
"Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue"
The six flag raisers who are depicted in the memorial include...
Block, Sousley and Strank were killed on Iwo shortly after the flag raising.
The three survivors quickly became national heroes.
*Joe Rosenthal (1911-2006) was born in Washington, D.C. to Russian immigrants. He attended the University of San Francisco and joined the Associated Press in 1943. The following year he was assigned to the Pacific Theater where he made his iconic photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima. In 1945, JR was the chief photographer and manager of Times World Wide Photos.