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.”

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

A.Y. Grant May 31, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Visited the Iwo Jima statue this Memorial Day, 2014, for the second time (since 1972) and it still brings tears to my eyes. How shameful it is that our brave soldiers are so forgotten and mistreated by the VA scandal. If the USA congress personnel were required to walk in our troops’ boots, we might get this country quickly straightened out.


Susan M. Gacek February 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Thank you for such a wonderful web site honoring our Marines. My daughter and brother David are Marines. Both out for years. God bless all of them . I thank you all our military for their service. If there is a news letter please add me to the list. We will be celebrating our Marines living and dead from that war This weekend at our Memorial in Newington CT.
With respect,


Mark Pierce January 23, 2014 at 7:35 pm

John F, Brennan PFC,KIA,Iwo Jima,27th Marines,USMC
Was my Second Cousin



JoAnn Nettleingham January 14, 2014 at 8:51 pm

my grandfather was a marine in this battle..since he died last week im tring to put something together to honor him.i have seven children three grand kids and im hoping to educate them on the supreme loyalty of the marine corps and my grandfathers place in that.very open to sugestions please and thank you


Shagnasty November 9, 2013 at 6:25 pm

We must never, NEVER, EVER FORGET.


j allen September 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Currently Americans can only visit this island one day a year . The cost to visit this island is $3000.00 .


jr kelly May 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm

wow its good to see the past that’s not been changed like that. I heard that in schools they are teaching kids that the boston tea party was a “terrorist act”. REALLY PEOPLE COME ON at least George Washington is still our 1st president. Any way I love this monument and it brings me joy to see the payoff of there sacrafices like that. God bless the marines and GOD BLESS AMERICA


D'Lorah Hurton January 28, 2013 at 11:47 pm

RIP Mr. Bud Gott, Iwo survivor (after fighting on the island for 30 days!) who we lost in 2012. Mr. Gott was a career educator and High School principal, beloved by generations of young people in his small town of Corning, California. Also a friend of the Young Marines!


JACK DUGAN September 27, 2012 at 2:44 am

My Uncle Joseph (Joby) DUGAN served on IwoJima but unfortunately came back with many problems, mostly alcohol related and on his desth bed in 1977 he was still fighting the Japs on the island. May he Rest in Peace


Jeni September 24, 2012 at 5:49 am

The past 3 days touched my heart and changed my life: I had the honor of meeting, caring for, and befriending an Iwo Jima veteran, Sergeant William Stephenson. It was, perhaps, the greatest honor I have encountered in my line of work thus far. The pain of his past is well-disguised by an enormous smile and grand sense of humor. I do not, however, disregard the torment that I know he has endured. He bears his burden with a humble sort of pride, and a sincere regard for this life so precious. I was so touched by a story he told through teary eyes…. post war he encountered a woman in the music shop where he was working whom he discovered was from the St. James, MN where his deceased comrade, Maynard, was from. This woman was a close friend of Maynard’s mother, whom had not had a funeral as her son’s body was never recovered from the island. This mother, who had been tormented by the limbo of not knowing, traveled to meet Bill the next day, whereupon he shared his story of having witnessed his dear friend’s death on the beach of the island. Maynard died bravely, honorably, and very swiftly. His funeral proceeded days later, and Bill was able to attend. Despite all the horror of humanity, this story reminds my heavy though happy heart that God’s holds us all gently in his hands. Life and liberty would not be so precious if it weren’t for death and war, and of course, for the sacrifices of our service men and women. God bless you all; in honor of William “Bill” Stephenson, my favorite human being that I have ever encountered! Semper Fi….


Ralph October 3, 2012 at 1:39 am

Beautiful story! Very touching brought tears to my eyes!


perin September 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm

merci de conserve la memoire pour tout ces hommes quel quand soit la periode, 14/18 , 39/45, en ce jour il reste beaucoup de terrain de conflits ou de jeunes soldats tombent encore


Deb Mitteer June 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm

My dad was aboard the USS Newberry during WWII. He transported the Marines and supplies to the various beaches, and was proud of the fact that no Marine ever got his feet wet, when he landing his Higgins boat. He just celebrated his 86th birthday and would love to hear from other men aboard the USS Newberry. His Higgins boat was hit and sunk by a Japanese mortar. He suffered a concussion and blown out ear drum. I have been trying to secure the Purple Heart for him, but the Navy has no records of his injuries. He continued taking supplies on shore and never went to the infirmary except to get some pain pills. He continued carrying the needed supplies to the shore.

He is definitely my hero. Thanks Dad!!!


Maria Turner Begemann August 20, 2012 at 10:05 am

My father served in Navy in WWII. His was on board the USS Lowdess on February 19, 1945 when US Marines Invade Iwo Jima. That was also his 19th birthday. Dad passed away on September 13, 2009, shortly before his death he gave me his photo albums from war time and memories of war that still haunted him for years. He was so very proud to serve our country, (even fibbed about his age so he could join sooner)! I am so very proud to know I had a father and both of his brothers fight for our freedom during WWII. Thanks also to the many men and women who still serve our country! You are all Hero’s who hold a special place in my heart!


Laverne R. Mertz U. S. Navy Veteran, MoMM2nd Class May 28, 2012 at 11:06 am

I served on the Landing Ship Medium USS LSM 207 and we made 45 amphibious landings on the beaches of Iwo Jima, mostly on Green Beach, during the invasion, 36 day battle and subsequent occupation following the battle to secure the island. We departed Iwo Jima on May 23, 1945 and sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, into San Francisco harbor, on July 5, 1945. We were on Green Beach, at the base of Mt. Suribachi, when the marines raised the American Flag on the 556 foot extinct volcano. Cheers went up and every ship at sea was blowing horns and ringing bells when that beautiful flag appeared. The first foreign flag to ever fly on Japanese soil. We departed Iwo Jima on May 23, 1945 and sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, into San Francisco harbor, on July 5, 1945.
The Iwo Jima Memorial at Arlington Cemetery is most inspiring and tells the story of the brave men and women that have defended our country down through years and are still defending the land of the free.


Gary Antilla December 8, 2012 at 3:44 am

My dad was the xo on the LSM207 with you. We lost him a few years ago. His name was Gus Antilla, and he was a real good man.


Nancy J Rice April 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm

My father fought on Iwo Jima. His name was Norman Houle. Alot of people knew by his nickname, “Soupie”. He was wounded on the island. If any one has any pictures or knew him , I’s like to hear from you. I’m so proud of him.


Buttkiss January 29, 2012 at 1:41 pm

is parking free at the iwo jima memorial?


Richard Miller January 25, 2012 at 3:24 am

“FREEDOM” They’ll make a shrine of this battleground with silent rifles and tilted crowns, and who we were with names and dates and posthumous medals commending our fates. Those who live will be the first to tell, in stirring words of our lives in Hell, of who we were and how we fought, dying for friends we never forgot. A bugle calls and Taps will sound for those we’ve laid to rest; heads will bow and hands salute, as those we mourn are blessed. Small white crosses are all that’s left to show why we were here; We struggled and died for a cause we’ll hold forever dear.


Marva Ambrose. Proud Marine Mom. August 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I am a proud marine mother.
My son, a master sargeant, has been a marine for the past 17 years, right out of high school.
We are very proud of him.He served two tours of duty and God brought him back safely to us.
When I see Iwo Jima,I feel a burning in my heart from the rawness and realness of it.It is so real.
I can imagine those young men working heroically to raise our flag.
It moves me to tears, but I am so proud of this and the men and women who died to set me free, to live in a land of freedom.

The next time you see a military person, stop and say thanks to them.


Thoas W. Miller June 27, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I was a gunnery sergeant on Iwo Jima from 19 Feb to 26 Mar 1945. I first heard the “13th hand” story early in 1999 from a 4-H group from California. Then, I could not confirm or deny the story — but I did not believe it was true — so I began researching it and before the year was out I published the booklet “The Iwo Jima Memorial & the Myth of the 13th Hand.” Over two editions (1999, 2001), 13 thousand copies were sold. It is no longer in print.
My research was conducted at the Marine Corps History Center, the National Archives, with knowledgeable veterans who had fought on Iwo Jima with the unit that raised the two flags on 23 February, in many books and articles about the battle and hundreds of visits to the memorial.
I happened to be at the memorial one day when sculptor Felix deWeldon also visited there, and I was able to ask him how he thought the myth began. Mr. deWeldon admitted he did not know. He threw his hands up and said, “Thirteen hands! Who needed thirteen, twelve were enough!”
My hope in 1999 was to erase this fiction of a 13th hand. Obviously, I was not successful.


marianne April 5, 2011 at 3:27 am

We have a website for those interested in Iwo Jima and who would like to honor the Survivors and those who never made it home.
please visit and spread the word.
Thank you


Marianne April 5, 2011 at 3:24 am

Thank you for your service in fighting for our freedom. We have a website for Iwo Jima Survivors at http://www.sosiwojima.com. We hope you find it interesting.
Thank you.


Ashley Currier March 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I have and seen Flags of our Fathers it they were both very good and very amazing.
God bless all our troops who are still fighting and God bless all the troops who died for our freedom


evan March 18, 2011 at 9:56 am

I have a friend who has two cousins in the marines. Semper fi


Ruth George March 5, 2011 at 3:32 am

I am proud of you for this wonderful insight on what went on to get this statue together and for those who sacrificed their lives to keep our country free.
My brother was killed in the Korean Conflict. I remember my Dad as he clutched the telegram when I came homr from school. I was 10 years old. My mother was never quite the same.
I lost a son too. He was in the Army. Two of my sons were in the Army. They both came home. But I lost the youngest son when he was 28 years old.
I am proud to be an American and as a performer, I ask my audience to remember our boys and girls over seas in their prayers after each performance.
My website is……..
I hope that you will take the time to email me too.
Thank you once again. God bless you.


JOHN FAIELLO December 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

i just happened across this web site, i was there on iwo with the 90th seabees, it brings tears to my eyes just to read some of the nice emails thank you all and god bless america


harry j kelley July 2, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I was in Co.F 2nd Btn.28th Marines 5th Division from Feb.19 March 10th,I served with a great bunch of Marines,I remember some names,Mecer,Coffee,Eddie,Tobin,Watson,Wilson,Brown,Murf & Callahan.hope some of F company can get in touch with me. HJK PS Brown,Norris,Morris,Doc.Savage,Dusty Roades,Kaplan,Ritz and more.


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