The Iwo Jima Memorial (The Marine Corps Memorial)
The Iwo Jima Memorial also stands out on the list of famous, patriotic, and unforgettable attractions on our tours. Located just outside of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, this monument is one of The United States Marine Corps most “prized possessions.” Also known as The Marine Corps Memorial, a visit to this amazing monument is sure to enhance your level of respect, admiration, and appreciation for “The Few and The Proud” The United States Marine Corps. The Iwo Jima Memorial is dedicated to the 6,841 soldiers who served and died in the Battle of Iwo Jima Island; as well as all Marine Corps personnel who served and died while defending their country since the year 1775. The memorial’s heart-felt inscription “Uncommon Valor a Common Virtue” (The Famous words of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz), is a great tribute to the soldiers who so fearlessly sacrificed themselves, and most of all, their lives in the Battle of Iwo Jima.
The Iwo Jima Memorial eternally replicates the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph called “The Raising of the Flag on Iwo Jima,” taken by Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Felix De Weldon, a young artist in the United States Navy, first sculpted a clay table model for President Truman’s approval. De Weldon later sculpted a 12.5 feet cast stone monument that stood in front of the current Federal Reserve Building on Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC. The monument was removed in 1947 for the construction of a new building. De Weldon began work on the new bronze sculpture in 1951, with the help of more than 100 artisans at the Bedi-Rassy Foundry in Brooklyn, New York. The sculpture was completed in 1954, and is known as the tallest bronze statue in the world at 78 feet high. The length of the flag pole is 60 feet, and each soldier is 32 feet high. The 108 pieces of The Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) was transported by a 3-truck convoy on I-95 south, from Brooklyn, New York to Arlington, VA. This extraordinary $850,000 project was completely funded by private donations.
The bronze statues were so meticulously carved that the facial and physical expressions were a timeless portrayal of our six heroes ( Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, John Bradley, Harlon Block, Mike Strank, and Franklin Sously) “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima Island.” Mike Strank, Franklin Sously, and Harlon Block lost their lives in combat.
Rene Gagnon, John Bradley, and Ira Hayes were present on November 10, 1954 (The 179th anniversary of The United States Marine Corps), when President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially dedicated the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, VA. The Iwo Jima Memorial is one of the few official sites where the United States Flag is required to fly 24 hours a day, due to a proclamation issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.
FYI: During the months of May through August the Marine Corps Sunset Parade is an awesome free event to witness! This event is usually held weekly, and includes a remarkable performance by the United States Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps (The Commandant’s Own), and the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.
– Written by Patrice Morton