Iwo Jima Statue & Iwo Jima Memorial

to see a large view.
The flag raising photo caused an immediate
sensation. Just two days after it was first seen in the US, Senators rose
on the floor of the US Senate calling for a national monument modeled on
the picture. The California State Legislature petitioned the Federal Government
to build a grand monument. Thousands of ordinary American’s wrote the President
appealing for a monument to immortalize the picture they loved.Felix DeWeldon, an ambitious sculptor, had a clay replica of the picture
sculpted within 72 hours of seeing the picture.

Click here for film clips of the flag

to see a large view.
President Truman with sculptor DeWeldon and
photographer Rosenthal. Oval Office April, 1945. Hundreds of artisans would work 8 years to create the Iwo Jima Monument.

to see a large view.
Sculptor DeWeldon with Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes,
John Bradley.The survivors modeled for DeWeldon.

to see a large view.
Here sculptor DeWeldon works on the image
of John Bradley.
Sculptor DeWeldon with Gagnon.The three who died on Iwo Jima, Harlon Block, Mike Strank and Franklin
Sously, had their bodies recreated using pictures and measurements.
Here we see a three-truck convoy crossing
the George Washington Bridge with the gigantic figures. Skilled artisans
at the Bedi-Rassy Art Foundry, Brooklyn, NY took three years to cast them.
They’re on their way down Interstate 95 headed to Arlington, Va. 1954

to see a large view.
Erection of the Statue began September, 1954.DeWeldon first built the figures’ bone structures with a steel framework.
He then put muscles and skin over this framework. The strain of the men’s
muscles show dramatically through the clothes that were added later.

to see a large view.
Rene Gagnon, Polly Gagnon, John Bradley, Elizabeth
Bradley, Ira Hayes. Union Station Washington, D.C. Nov. 1954. (In town
for the Dedication Ceremony.)Gagnon was an airlines clerk, Bradley was an entrepreneur and Hayes
lived in a $50 hut on the Gila Indian Reservation.

to see a large view.
The Memorial was dedicated by President Dwight
D. Eisenhower on November 10. 1954.Here Ike listens to his Vice President Richard Nixon.

to see a large view.
The last photograph of the three survivors
together, Bradley, Hayes and Gagnon.Within 10 weeks Ira Hayes would be found frozen, face down in an irrigation
ditch. He died of exposure and alcohol at the age of 33, almost 10 years
to the day he helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima.

to see a large view.
Vice President Nixon’s “Photo Op” with Flag
Raisers Bradley, Gagnon and Hayes.Hayes had less than 3 months to live.

to see a large view.
Each figure is 32 feet high. The flagpole
is 60 feet in length. It’s the world’s tallest bronze statue. It’s stands
78 feet high. A cloth flag flies from the pole.The cost of the statue was $850,000 (1954 Dollars.) No public funds
were used. Private donations picked up the tab.

to see a large view.
The inscription reads:
“Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue.”

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Shaw Hebert November 11, 2009 at 1:45 am

I am the daughter of an Air Force pilot who served in three wars. This statue is so special to me — Mr. Bradley was my grandmother’s cousin. Thank you to all of the men and women serving our country.


Larry P. Foster November 12, 2009 at 6:47 pm

I am the 2nd Son of Sgt. Harold Y. Foster, Sr.-Navajo Code Talker, who fought with the 5th Marine Division, 27th Regt. 3rd Bttn. at Iwo Jima. He and another Navajo Code Talker send messages for his Platoon: Dibeh(sheep); Shi-Da(uncle); Dah-Nes-Tsa(ram); lkin(ice);shush(bear);wol-la-chee(ant);moasi(cat);lin(horse);Dibe’bin’a’Naa”dzi’i'”(Sheep Eye Has Heal)=Suribachi Secured>>Semper Fi=Dibeh(sheep);ah-nah(eye);na-as-tsosi(mouse);Bisodih(pig);ah-nah-(eye);gah(rabbit);ma-e(fox);Tkin(ice)


Kurt Schinze February 19, 2015 at 5:54 pm

Your Father set the standards for those of us , that served with 3rd battalion 27th Marine Regt in Vietnam. We hope that we met those standards. Semper, Fi
Sgt, Kurt Schinze. USMC H & S Co. Fac Team 3/27th Nam 68


Ray Toller February 23, 2015 at 2:58 pm

It is well that you honor your father in such a manner ! They were truly intricate parts of winning that war, thus I Salute their service, and hold them in the highest esteem as I do all whom participated. Thank you for sharing !


Sid Courtney November 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Everyone should read,”Flags OF Our Fathers”, by John Bradley’s son if they truly want to get a feel for all the men in the south pacific and how average they all considered themselves to be. These 6 men were a representation of all of our fathers who gave up much, even if they returned from the battles.


William C. Chisholm Jr. November 24, 2009 at 6:55 pm

On november l0, l954 I stood with the Marine Ceremonial Guard 8th and I at the statue. I wish to find out how to get a copy ofan Official picture of The 8th and I Ceremonial Guard in front of the Statue. I am the Marine closest to the Color Guard on the right. I saw and heard President Eisenhauer speak and saw Bradley, Gagnon, and Hayes. My brother-in-law landed with the 4th Marine Division. He came in on LST 724 with that Div.’s Artillery at Iwo on his 20th Birthday. We Dedicated The Statue on that day Semper Fi Bill Chisholm



Alissa Luigs November 30, 2009 at 11:27 am

i am the neise of a National Gaurd Soldier. They serve our country for a purpose not just to get the Purple Heart. My uncle is married and is expecting. we think that he might have to go back for about 2 years and we want him to be safe. my best friends father is in afganastan so if any of you out there knows anything about that place if you would, could you put him in your prayers. Thank you


Karen Gee Handwerker February 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I am the very blessed and proud daughter of Thomas Rudolph Gee who was 1st wave at Iwo and was at Okinawa too. He was only 17-half way around the world and a valient hero facing the unimaginable horrors of war. He is 83 now, and only starting speaking of this time during the last few years. I wish that more of the remaining WWII soldiers would tell their stories to everyoned who will listen…particularly the young-like my own children who have been raised in an indulgent, materialistic, and largely unpatriotic and amoral world. These men, and the families that supported them served a cause much larger than themselves–a love of their country and of God. My Daddy is our hero, and always will be. We should all support the heros that are currently protecting those same rights that allow us such freedoms. I pray that the wisdom of these protectors of our country and our freedoms will be passed down, and that it will not take another tragedy to make us realize the true value of the valor, integrity,and selflessness, that they have all demonstrated on our behalf. God bless America – and those who have fought and died to keep her safe!


Enrique Jimenez February 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm

My brother-in-law was there in Iowa Jima, I took him to Fredricksburg,Texas for the 60th Aniversery and from there to the reanacment of the Battle at Kerrville,Texas. He was in the 5th Marine Division and was 19 years old ! He died about 2 months later at the age of 80. His name was James Clark and was awarded the Purlpe Heart ! He saw the 1st Flag go up but was then shot and was at sick bay when the 2nd Flag went up ! RIP JC Semper Fi !


Carol Alexander February 27, 2010 at 1:21 am

I am the second daughter of Pvt Richard E Alexander who also was in 5th Division, 27th regiment, George Company 3rd Battalian. He was only 17 when he joined the Marines and was a flamethrower with the third wave. He was injured and sent to Hawaii and then to the states. He lived to be 82, dying on New Years Day 2009. He only talked about the war in later years to my brother and son. Right after the war he drank a lot and was into trouble. Then he met my mother and after two years of marriage she threatened to leave if he didnt quit drinking. He gave it up and was a good honest Christian man the remainder of his life. After 60 years he would still get choked up about remembering his buddies who died on Iwo. He was a very good man. He was a very proud Marine.


Retired T/sgt Lonnie Andrews March 2, 2010 at 6:59 am

I personally white washed the Grave Markers on Iwo for all the fallen.I was there in 60 61 and raised the Flag when it needs replacing.One of the new requirement for new arrivals were to watch the Invasion of Iwo and it is something you cannot forget.I took it as a privledge to show respect for all those who were left there and It nearly broke my heart when they give it back to Japan.


paul e. tower March 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm

my brother ALFRED W. TOWER JR. SERVED WITH THE 5TH MARINE DIV ON IWO JIMA..he has passed away but i still remember of him fighting on iwo rest in peace brother love PAUL E. TOWER


Gooch Eesh (Father of the Wolf) March 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I am proud to be an American. I am Alaskan Native and I have seen this war memorial and as many of you have experienced it is very emotional especially when you learn the story of those men who by chance and following orders raised the Flag of Our Country. My sincerest thanks to all the men and women who serve and have served this Great Nation. As the Korean War Memorial states “Freedom is Not Free.”


Albert Ramirez March 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm

My grandfather fought on Iwo Jima and recieved a Purple Heart from his wounds there. His name was Alfredo Perez. I wish I knew more about him but my grandmother divorced him when I was very young and my mother never forgave him for leaving. All I know is what my Uncle tells me and that is little because he never spoke of what he went through. I joined the Marines in the fall of 1973 and served three years as a combat photographer. In the spring of 1974 my orders were changed and wasn’t sent overseas. God Bless my Grandfather and God Bless the USMC. God bless America no matter who is in the White House. SEMPER FI


Noel A. Lipton S/P 4 - Cpl U.S.A. Ret March 2, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I knew two former marines that served in WW11, nether one would talk about it. I served with the Army in Viet Nam – 68,69., yes war is hell. I have seen quite a few men get killed or wounded in battle. it still bathers me to this day. there are times that I will start crying for no reason. I was wounded shot in one leg and hand.


Vickie March 2, 2010 at 2:39 pm

My Uncle was in that regiment..his name was Leonard Eugene Nunley, he was killed at Iwo Jima…..looking for anyone who may have known him or has any photo’s email me …jgmm615@hotmail.com


mary March 2, 2010 at 2:59 pm

My heart goes out to anyone who has been in any war,THANK GOD for our men and women, all of my uncles and father all served in just about every war that we have been in. I am very proud of the men from the first and second world war, they were all so proud because they served their country but yet they never really spoke of all the danger and awful things that they saw and had to do. My father was 17 years old when he went into the Army, he was airborne in the 81 st Batillon, I also had one uncle who was in the army for D-Day, another one was in Korea, another one was in the Battle of the Bulge and my youngest uncle was in Vietnam, the youngest was a Marine while all of the rest were Army, but no matter what branch they were in they all served proudly for their country. Because of them we can stand proudly and LIVE SAFE and say GOD BLESS AMERICA………… I also currently have a nephew in Iraq and i in Afghanastan…………please pray for all of them, I know that I pray for all of our military all around the world everyday……………..AGAIN GOD BESSS AMERICA………


chuck March 2, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I am the proud son of chas w.brock sr a marine that fought with the fighting 4th on iwo jima.he is gone now but is memory lives on through me…simper fi to all the iwo jima marines that are still with us.thanks ffor all you have done and may god bless& GOD BLESS AMERICA……SIMPER FI


Duane Peterson March 3, 2010 at 11:42 am

A monument on U.S. Highway 90, Monticello, Florida honors Plt Sgt Thomas. It is inscribed with the following words:[2]
“ In recognition of Platoon Sergeant Ernest I. Thomas USMCR who on February 23, 1945, led his platoon to raise the first flag on Iwo Jima, the first Japanese territory taken in World War II. On March 3, eight days after the first flag raising and ten days after he earned the Navy Cross for heroism in action, he was killed leading his men in combat.
March 10, 1924 – March 3, 1945.

For some reason this monument is not included.


Support Our Survivors of Iwo Jima March 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm

There is a new website for the Iwo Jima Survivors Association in Connecticut. Please go to http://www.sosiwojima.com.
Thank you.


Richard Stoll March 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm

My father fought and was wounded on Iwo Jima. He and I went on the “Honor Flight” last year to Washington and toured the Iwo Jima memorial. That was an experience neither of us will forget.

Thanks Dad for your service


charles gamble March 8, 2010 at 10:58 pm

i was on iwo jima during the ivasion we were taking the
wounded men off of the beach to the hospital ships off shore
it was a pretty harrowing job lot of wounded men in bad shape
there are not very many of us left now our reunions get
smaller. charles gamble us navy 1941 to november the 25


Janel March 8, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Mr. Gamble,

God bless you. And thank you. I still cry over the boys lost in war, both the US boys and our “enimies”.


David C. Wolfe March 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I am the proud son of Sargent B.Alton Wolfe who was in the first landing on Iwo Jima. My father passed away on November 13, 1992. He was a very good father and a Marine at heart to the end of his life. Thank God for brave heros like him. I am a viet Nam veteran.
Dave Wolfe


Jackie Byrd March 15, 2010 at 5:17 pm

The orginal statue (the one from which this was cast) is located in Harlingen Texas on the grounds of the Marine Military Academy. If you are in the area it is worth a trip. The museum is full of great information and gracious volunteers. The cadets from the Academy present parades on special occasions honoring our veterans.


James F. Esslinger, Jr. March 16, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I have a color photograph of a dedication of the monument featuring a Marine color guard at the center of a formation, the Marine Corps band on the altar of the monument, and a group of civilians just to the left. My father, James F. Esslinger, is among the formation of Marines and he would have been a Staff Sgt. at the time. He retired from the Corps in 1964, with the rank of 1st Sgt and at the time was a member of the Third Marine Division. The photo appears to have been taken in the mid 1950s and could have been of the dedication of the monument. My father was ‘island hopping” during WWII, but I’m not certain he fought on Iwo Jima. He died in 1985. if someone remembers him or has knowledge of his service, I would appreciate hearing from you. You may write to me at jesslingerjr@hotmail.com. Thank you.


Bob Faro March 28, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Go to http://www.archives.gon and follow the links for military records, online or by regular mail. Request a copy of your father’s records and learn where he served.


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