Flag of Our Fathers

A World War II symbol returns to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. 

Images courtesy of National Museum of the Marine Corps

The image of six United States Marines raising an American flag over the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during World War II is among the most recognizable photographs in military history and has become a symbol of the courage and tenacious spirit of the United States Marine Corps. Just in time for the 75th anniversary of the battle in February, the flag has made its way back to the U.S., and you can see it now displayed at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle. It is a fitting home for the flag, considering the building’s exterior is meant to evoke the image of the flag raisers of Iwo Jima.

The flag shown in the famous picture, taken by photographer Joe Rosenthal atop Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi, was actually the second flag raised on the island on the fifth day of the bloody battle, which remains one of the most notable and hard-fought invasions in U.S. history. More than 80,000 Marines, sailors, soldiers, and Coast Guardsmen took part in the operation. There were more than 24,000 casualties, of which 6,140 died during the 36 days it took to secure the island. 

Admission to the museum, which houses both flags, is free, and it is open to the public every day, except Dec. 25. USMCMuseum.com


This article originally appeared in our April 2020 issue.

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