The capture of Iwo Jima, a small pacific Island, saw the end of World War II in 1945. It was one of the bloodiest wars fought and led to more than 6,800 American and 23,000 Japanese casualties. When 70, 000 US marines invaded the strategic island under control of the Japanese Army on February 19, 1945, one of their prime objective was to capture Mount Suribachi, the highest point on the island. Three days later the mountain was secured and an American flag was hoisted on the mountain top, by five marines and a Navy corpsman. This historic moment was instantly captured by an Associated Press photographer, Joe Rosenthal and became a glowing symbol of the Pacific War. The American government used the photograph to sell war bonds and promote the war effort. This was also the inspiration behind the U.S Marine Corps Memorial or the Iwo Jima Memorial. Located near the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, overlooking the Potomac River, this memorial pays homage to all those marines who have sacrificed their lives defending the United States 1775 onwards.
Interesting & Fun Facts About Marine Corps Memorial
- The 32-foot-high sculpture of the Marine Corp Memorial was inspired by a Pulitzer Prize winning photograph clicked by Joe Rosenthal.
- The bronze monument was designed by Felix W. De Weldon and dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, on the occasion of the 179th anniversary of the Marine Corps.
- In the year 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued a proclamation that the United States flag should fly from the memorial all throughout the day.
- The bronze statue of the memorial is said to be the largest in the world.
- The soldiers commemorated in the statue have been positioned in the same way as in the historic photograph.
- While the statue was being designed, the three surviving soldiers of the war from the photographs posed for the sculptor.
- Casting the bronze took three years and the statue was transported to Washington D.C in a dozen pieces and then bolted and welded together.
- The memorial is 78 feet tall, and the rifles are 12 and 16 feet long.
- The figures in the Marine Corp Memorial statue hold a 60-foot bronze flagpole from which a cloth flag flies all through the day.
- The memorial base is made of rough Swedish granite and the names of every major member of the US Marine Corps are inscribed on it.
- The total cost of constructing the statue and developing the memorial site was $850,000. No public funds were used and instead the memorial was constructed with the help of donations from U.S. Marines, former Marines, Marine Corps Reservists, friends of the Marine Corps and members of the Naval Service.
- The National Iwo Jima Memorial located in Newington, Connecticut has been constructed using a similar design like the Marine Corp Memorial and pays tribute to the 6,821 US servicemen who died in the battle.