9.11.01 Never Forgotten - v.II

Iwo Jima Memorial Statue, USS Intrepid, New York City.

February 14, 2015
On the morning of February 23, 1945, with the island of Iwo Jima still not secured, a patrol of Marines made the tortuous climb to the island’s volcanic peak, Mount Suribachi, and raised a small American flag. The sight so inspired troops on the beaches below and on ships offshore that the decision was made to raise another, larger flag. Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, John Bradley, Harlon Block, Michael Strank, and Rene Gagnon made the next ascent and, with photographer Joe Rosenthal standing by, raised a second flag. Rosenthal’s dramatic image forever linked the lives of these men. Sculptor Felix de Weldon later transformed the moment into a larger-than-life symbol of the heroism of all who have fought and died in America’s wars. The statue on exhibition on the hanger deck of the USS carrier Intrepid in the New York Sea, Air and Space Museum, lent by Rodney Hilton Brown and the War Museum, is the sole survivor of several large scale plaster sculptures that were done by de Weldon for the 7th War Bond Drive of Spring-Summer 1945, which raised more than $24 billion in six weeks.

Thumbnail by Jim Linwood