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Statues and Memorials:
Marine Corps War Memorial

Marine Corps War Memorial Close-up of the Marine Corps War Memorial Hoisting the Flag Marine Corps War Memorial Silhouette
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The Marine Corps War Memorial is a symbol of America’s gratitude to the United States Marines who died in combat. The statue portrays one of the most famous events of World War II: the U.S. victory of Iwo Jima, a small island in the Pacific Ocean near Japan.

Early on the morning of February 19, 1945, a small American flag was raised on Mount Suribachi after a long fight on the island. Later that afternoon, a larger American flag was raised by five marines (Sgt. Michael Strank, Cpl. Harland H. Block, Pfc. Franklin R. Sousley, Pfc. Rene A. Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes, and PhM. 2/c John H. Bradley, USN). News photographer Joe Rosenthal caught the afternoon raising of the flag in an award-winning picture. Felix W. de Weldon, a Navy sculptor, was so moved by the picture that he created a live-sized model of it. The sculpture was officially dedicated by President Eisenhower on November 10, 1954.

The figures in the sculpture stand 32 feet tall and are shown raising a 60-foot-tall bronze post with a cloth flag flying at the top. The memorial stands about 78 feet tall overall. The rifle and the carbine carried by two of the figures are 16 and 12 feet long, and the canteen would hold 32 quarts of water.

The base of the memorial is made of Swedish granite. Written in gold are the names and dates of Marine Corps engagements since the founding of the organization and the inscription:

"In honor and memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since November 10, 1775."

For more information, check out the National Park Service's Marine Corps War Memorial.