Thursday, February 23, 2006

"Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue."

Sixty-one years ago today, the flag raising at Iwo Jima perhaps one of the most famous incidents of World War II took place.

Iwo Jima is a small island 660 miles south of Tokyo. Mount Suribachi rises 550 ft. to form the southern tip of the area and dominate the area.

On the morning of February 19th the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, was ordered to capture Mount Suribachi. Facing heavy Japanese resistance it took until February 23rd to reach the top of the mountain.

That afternoon five marines and a Navy hospital corpsman using a water pipe for a flagpole, raised a large American flag on the top of Mount Suribachi. The moment, forever captured by photographer Joe Rosenthal, was actually the second flag raised at the top of Mount Suribachi. It replaced a smaller flag that had been raised earlier in the day.

Although a climatic point it did not signify the end of the battle, which would go on for several more weeks. Three of the six men, Sgt. Michael Strank, Cpl. Harlon H. Block, and Pfc. Franklin R. Sousley would give their lives before the fighting was over.

The famous USMC War Memorial was sculped by Felix W. de Weldon it depicts the famous flag raising. The monument pictured here resides in Fall River, MA and was made from one of De Weldon’s earlier molds.

1 comment:

Roger Williams said...

An interesting postscript to all of this at the Providence Journal: