Iwo Jima Bond Tour

President Roosevelt paid for WWII by selling bonds to the US public. Today the President of the US can just spend our money on war without consulting us, the taxpayers.

There had been six “Bond Tours” that toured the country to inspire Americans to buy bonds, all elaborate shows consisting of stadium appearances, spotlights, music, war heroes and Hollywood stars. And FDR needed more money for the war effort. He needed the 7th Bond Tour be a big hit.

Two months before he died, Roosevelt picked up a copy of The New York Times. “There it is again!” he thought as he eyed the photo of the flag raising. He was amazed how many times the newspapers were reprinting the AP newsphoto. Publishers across the country were profiting by printing “special editions” of their newspapers featuring only reprints of the picture. The American Public couldn’t get enough of it. Then the idea hit him. “Get me Henry Morgenthau, please,” FDR asked the White House Operator. When his Secretary of the Treasury came on the line, FDR said, “Hank, I’ve got it. I’ve got the symbol, the theme for the Seventh Bond Tour. It’s the flag raising picture. People love it. Let’s get the boys who raised it back here. They’ll lead the 7th (Bond Tour)”

FDR, sensing a public relations coup, put out a Presidential Order to “Transfer immediately by air to Washington, D.C. the 6 men who appear in the Rosenthal photograph of flag raising at Mt. Suribachi.”

The symbol for FDR’s “7th Bond Drive.” Artist’s rendition of the famous photo.

For the next two months everyone in America would see this picture over and over. You couldn’t avoid it. It hung in:

  • One million Retail Store windows
  • 16,000 Movie Theaters
  • 15,000 Banks
  • 200,000 Factories
  • 30,000 Railroad Stations
  • 5,000 Large Billboards

President Truman greets the flag-raising survivors.

The 7th Bond Tour raised $24 Billion (1945 Dollars) for the US Treasury, more than any other bond tour. To put this into perspective, the total US Budget in 1946 was $56 Billion. This would be the largest borrowing from the American public in history.

The three survivors view the 7th Bond Tour Poster in Washington, D.C. just after their meeting with President Truman. Flag Raisers Bradley, Hayes & Gagnon outside the Oval Office. April 20, 1945.

Later that day members of the President’s cabinet, the US Senate and the House of Representatives applauded as the three raised their Iwo Jima flag over the US Capitol.

That evening the three survivors were guests of the US Senate at a baseball game in Griffith Stadium. The stadium announcer introduced the trio as they stood at homeplate acknowledging a standing ovation by 35,000 fans.

Kicking off the Bond Tour. Times Square. May 1945.
Mayor LaGuardia watches Hayes, Gagnon and Bradley raise the flag over a 55 ft. high replica of the picture in Times Square. 1.4 Million New Yorkers showed up.

A quick smoke before their tumultuous welcome by 45,000 cheering Chicagoans at Soldiers Field. Hayes, Bradley & Gagnon. Soldiers Field, Chicago. June, 1945.

They toured New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Indianapolis, Detroit, Chicago, Rochester, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Phoenix and Los Angeles.

The Original Flag that flew over Mt. Suribachi. Gagnon, Bradley and assistant. This flag is now in the Marine Corps Museum, Washington, D.C.

25 thoughts on “Iwo Jima Bond Tour

  1. Zazel Berries

    I am very proud to be a descendant of one of the thousand soldiers that fought in the war. I salute you who have fallen in battle and those who still live on today. God bless you all for your courage and bravery.

    ~Zazel Berries
    Black Alicorn Productions

  2. Steven John Kuzma

    I have an uncle buried in Denmark(John Turscak). Two weeks before the end of the conflict in Germany he lost his life to a sniper. Men die in war and those left behind to grieve them only have memories but some stories help others beleieve. My grandmother lost her closest brother that day. Having known my grandmother for many years she suffered twice. Once when her brother passed and another when her son enlisted due to problems at home. I can only speculate the fear she felt for her son in Vietnam having had already lost a brother earlier in her life. My uncle returned from Vietnam changed but still our uncle. The Catholic faith is taught to be ritualistic in saying there prayers. Grandma was educated till the 7th grade. Till this day I have found no other human who could write the english language with such grace. She would write the lords prayer on anything she could find. My uncle will tell you that her letters kept him alive. For my uncle and my grandma some day I would like to see his headstone on American soil. I believe his spirit already made it. She told me the night he was killed she saw him in a dream. He had a bandage around his head and he told her I’ve been killed but I’m in no pain. I just came to say goodbye. The next day the soldiers visited there residence to tell them of his death. Perhaps she found piece in having known her brother had visited her. She said he was a handsom man that looked like a movie STAR.
    Someday grandma we will bring him home. ARMY services have taken a picture of his remains but someday maybe we can have you back home in HOLLYMi.(Merry Christmas) His family waits!!!

    • Peter Doornekamp

      Dear Doc,

      an aqcuaintance of mine was a radio operator with the 12th Marines on Iwo Jima. Maybe he knew your uncle? Please email me (patdoornekamp@gmail.com), and I can get you in touch…

      Peter Doornekamp

  3. S/Sgt. GW Rosson

    Hi. I don’t know what to asy on this. I was on iwo jima in 1946-1947 as a first Sgt. There was no time in grade at time time untill July 1946. By then I had made S/Sgt. Thanks a lot.
    S/Sgt. GW Rosson Email me on Rossonotes@aol.com or call anytime on 309-647-1444 You have a good day.

  4. Shannon Armani

    Dear Sergeant GW Rosson: I hope that this message finds you well. Did you know my grandfather? He was Wallace Robert Small, also a Sergeant Merchant Marine that served in Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. I am trying to find information about him. Thank you all that you, your family and friends sacrificed, Sir!! God Bless You!!!

    Kindest regards and appreciation to you from

    Shannon Armani

  5. Douglas J Oswald

    I understand that they renamed it and that Americans are not permitted to travel there except for certain organized trips. My father in-law is going to turn 90 and is a Iwo survivor. We are thinking of going there March 2013 on a trip organized by Military Tours.

  6. Dale Levine

    My grandfather, William (Bill) S. Phillips, was on Iwo Jima. He was part of the 4th Division and was the 1st injury at Iwo Jima. He was a wonderful, quiet man and I understand him a little more now after seeing the movie Flags of Our Fathers. He passed away in March 1995.

  7. richard "Hands" Foley

    My Uncle George W. Hobby was on all the invasions with the 4th Marine Division. His Dad George Sr. was a Navy Seabee who lied about his age, to go to war with his 4 sons. Both men were on Iwo Jima.
    At one point, my Grandfather, and Uncle George were on the same invasion ship together (Saipan), and they sailed together for over a month, and never knew they were on the same ship. A letter from my Grandmother told my Grandfather, just as the Marines were going over the side ( i still have that article from the Newark Star Ledger). My Grandmother sent it in, and they published it. My Grandfather was one of the guys from NY/NJ who actually started the Seabee’s.

  8. S/Sgt. GW Rosson

    All I want to know is WHY we give the island back to the D— Japs? We lost 6820 Maries there, it looks like some one didn’t know what he or they were doing.I was there for two years 1945-1947.
    S/Sgt. GW Rosson

  9. Alim

    Both those who died and those who lived were real heros. I have been looking for information about my Uncle Charles Dark who died 65 years ago today on Iwo Jima I have a lot but would like to find someone who new him God Bless all of them. Thanks http://www.kranik.kiev.ua

  10. Becky Rees

    My Dad was on Iwo. He was in the Marines 4th Division, K-battery, 4th Battalion, 14th Marines. (Hope I got all that right.) His name was Bill Icenhour and he is alive and doing very well for an 87 year old Marine. If you were in his group I know he would love to hear from you. He keeps in touch with Gene Yde who was in the same group.

  11. matt

    Ira Hayes died because of a drinking problem. He was not forgotten as a hero, he hated to be called a hero because he felt guilty that he had survived after the war. The real heroes, he believed, were “his buddies” that died on Iwo Jima.

  12. emilyrubenstin

    hello my brother loves learning bout iwo jima and always wanted to meet a veteran from iwo jima and i alos think ita amazing bye

  13. eric

    There was an American Indian who as a US soldier helped raise that flag and he died on the side of a road. This to needs to be remembered that a hero was forgotten by the people for whom he fought. A tragedy that seems echoed by the travails of soldiers from Nam, Korea and now Iraq.

  14. Richard E. BushJr.

    Hi, Robert Eugene Bush was my dads brother, Killed on Iwo Jima. do you have any information you can share on him. My Dad was MSGT Richard E. Bush Sr. USMC.
    thank you
    r-bush jr.

  15. Truck Mesteth

    im only 15 years old but im pround that they were humble about raising the flag thank you for ending world war 2
    in the memory of those who died in the years of 1939-1945

  16. leroy paulin

    I had the pleasure of meeting John Bradley in his Antigo funeral home and what a nice meeting it was. I gave him pictures I took in Kentucky at the dedication of a monument to Franklin Sousley at his gravesite.
    LeRoy Paulin

  17. John Dark

    Both those who died and those who lived were real heros. I have been looking for information about my Uncle Charles Dark who died 65 years ago today on Iwo Jima I have a lot but would like to find someone who new him God Bless all of them

  18. Joshua Domer

    I am 16 years old and this is probably the only subject in history that i love reading about..It is also amaizing to see the pictures that were taken a while ago. You can ask me anything about Iwo Jima except for the people that is but i love this subject. This is a good reason why we should raise our heads and say to our fellow Americans ” This is why we are free and to live a free country” Just think about 60% of Americans dont even think about us in a war all they think about is their lives and they dont ever think about the people that have and that do put their lives on the line for our free America

  19. Bob "Rody" Rodenhiser

    I am sorry thatI missed Morning Joe due to being in the hospital, been home @ two weeks but not sure how long. I have four feet on my coner walls with everyone connected with both flag raising and it is most moving to see this. On the bottom of all the pictures I have a picture of John “Doc” Bradley and beside him is John again in a double 8X10 frame. One side he is about 17 to 18 years old and the other side he is well into his 60’s. When my friends come to visit me they are amazed, when I have a bad day I just take a minite and look at these boys and see just how lucky I really am after 35 years in the service, from the Korea conflick to two tours in Viet Nam, so I know just what that feeling is. Thanks for leting me share a little about the boys………Rody

  20. mike

    The original flag raised at Iwo Jima now hangs at the Marine Corps museum at Quantico, Virginia. The battle for Iwo Jima has its own gallery at the museum and that is where the flag can be seen


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