The Marine Corps War Memorial, aka the Iwo Jima Memorial is located just outside the walls of Arlington National Cemetery. It's dedicated to all marines who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the US since the foundation of the corps in 1775. The memorial takes the form of a famous photograph (taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal) of six men who raised the second US flag on Mt. Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in February, 1945. Those depicted include Sgt. Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon Block (who was later killed in action on Iwo Jima), PFC Rene Gagnon, PFC Ira Hayes, PFC Franklin Sousley and Pharmacist Mate 2nd Class John Bradley, USN. The designer, Felix de Weldon created a wax model during a single weekend, reportedly, and it was then presented to the Congress, but funding was impossible during the war. In 1947, a foundation was established to raise funds for its creation. Work began in 1951. The final product is this iconic sculpture, standing 32 feet tall (with the flagpole reaching 60 ft.) There are also scaled replicas at three marine bases: one stands in Quantico, another in South Carolina and a third in Hawaii. It's somewhat ironic that the memorial is perhaps more famous than the actual Battle of Iwo Jima, which wrought horrific casualties: it was the only battle fought by the US Marine Corps in which American casualties exceeded those of the Japanese, but the strategic value of the island has been greatly debated, perhaps making the memorial even more poignant.
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batalay (35747) 2014-05-24 20:22
How appropriate for the date. If I'm not mistaken it was Felix de Weldon who created the famous bronze. There is a scaled down replica at the main gates of the Quantico Marine Base. And there is also a fairly new Marine Corps museum, where the angle of a spire is inspired by the flag in the Iwo Jima Statue.
Happy Memorial Day to you,