Belatedly marking history on Iwo Jima…

On February 23rd 1945, on small volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the 28th Marine Regiment celebrated a key strategic victory by raising Old Glory on top of Suribachi-yama, more commonly known as Mount Suribachi. The Marines slogged on for five days, through heavily defended territory, advancing a mere 400 yards per day until that final moment, where they surged forward and crested Iwo Jima’s highest and most strategic point. In that moment, a group of Marines raised the flag on top of the mountain and the original picture was captured by Marine photographer Louis Lowery, although his picture wasn’t the pulitzer winning photograph that served as the basis to the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington.

Several hours after the first flag raising, a group of Marines headed up the slopes with a bigger flag, and AP photographer Joe Rosenthal joined them halfway up the slopes to record the historic event. Joe took three pictures and the first one, showing the Marines and a Navy corpsman struggling to raise the flag became one of the most reproduced pictures ever and won Joe the Pulitzer prize. Contrary to what some have believed, the moment was not scripted at all, it was just brilliantly captured on film to mark the occasion of capturing the most strategic position on that small volcanic island and is a reminder of the sacrifices made by the Marines who fought for us in World War II.

As a former sailor (more lovingly referred to as a “squid” by Marines I know), we often labeled our Marine brethren as our Resident Extremiststm, but in the end, it’s good to know that they’re on our side, and they certainly do represent the best of the best. So, to belatedly mark the anniversary of the momentous occasion on Iwo Jima, I offer a big ooh rah and semper fi to our Marines, thanks for doing what you do to keep us safe.

2 Comments so far

  1. tj (unregistered) on February 27th, 2006 @ 7:08 am

    my father and both grandfathers were air force pilots (all three flew combat missions – dad was a POW in Vietnam). so air force has been branded into me for a looong time. but somehow, i’ve always REALLY respected the marines. they see the worst of the worst, get shipped to god knows where and they always “do or die”. i’m glad they’re on our side too!

  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on February 27th, 2006 @ 8:31 am

    Indeed, an Oo RAH for the Marines today, but the Navy folks that really deserve to be squids are the submariners, not the targets, er, surface navy.

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