25 September 2009


Here are some interesting facts behind this famous picture:

  • There are six Flag Raisers on the photo. Four in the front line and two in back.
    The front four are (left to right) Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, John Bradley and Harlon Block. The back two are Michael Strank (behind Sousley) and Rene Gagnon (behind Bradley).

  • Strank, Block and Sousley would die shortly afterwards. Bradley, Hayes and Gagnon became national heroes within weeks.

  • The pole weighed over 100 lbs.

  • Iwo Jima was the first place an invader's flag ever flew over Japanese home territory.

  • This flag is now in the Marine Corps Museum, Washington, D.C.

And here are some intresting facts about the Iwo Jima Memorial:

  • The flag raising photo caused an immediate sensation. Just two days after it was first seen in the US, Senators rose on the floor of the US Senate calling for a national monument modeled on the picture. The California State Legislature petitioned the Federal Government to build a grand monument. Thousands of ordinary American's wrote the President appealing for a monument to immortalize the picture they loved.
  • Felix DeWeldon, an ambitious sculptor, had a clay replica of the picture sculpted within 72 hours of seeing the picture.
  • Hundreds of artisans would work 8 years to create the Iwo Jima Monument.
  • Erection of the Statue began September, 1954.
  • The Memorial was dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on November 10. 1954.
  • Each figure is 32 feet high.
  • The flagpole is 60 feet in length.
  • It's the world's tallest bronze statue. It's stands 78 feet high.
  • A cloth flag flies from the pole.
  • The cost of the statue was $850,000 (1954 Dollars.) No public funds were used. Private donations picked up the tab.
  • The inscription reads:
    "Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue."


Joanna said...

The Iwo Jima memorial will always be my favourite monument in DC, hands down.

Hey, remember when we went to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and they had those two portraits set up side by side... you know, the flag raising at Iwo Jima and the flag raising at the WTC site in New York? So touching.

I'll have to dig up that photo I took and maybe scan it in here so we can appreciate both moments once again.

Rebecca on The Homefront said...

Adam may be a Soldier, but the iconic photo at Iwo Jima will always represent the military to me. It gives me cold chills every time I look at it and think how much it took to reach that summit.

Thanks for the facts, Dani. Fascinating.

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