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
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.