Vintage

10 Things About The Famous Flag-Raising Photo That You Didn't Learn In School

- Page 1

Every history textbook in America features this iconic photograph of Marines raising the U.S. flag, but how much do you actually know about it?

See how many of these 10 facts you already knew about the Pulitzer Prize-winning picture:

1. Where was it taken?

The photo shows 6 U.S. Marines raising the flag on the peak of Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima. The tiny island was the first Japanese territory that American troops landed on, and it was home to some fierce fighting.

Mount Suribachi is a dormant volcano and the tallest point on the island, and after American troops fought for it they raised a flag to show troops below that they had control of the mountain. Thankfully, photographer Joe Rosenthal was nearby to take a snapshot of the historic moment.

2. It was actually a redo

American troops took control of the volcano in the early hours of February 23, 1945 and raised a flag to show they were holding it. But the first flag they raised was too small, and couldn't be seen from below.

The first flag.

Another photographer had snapped shots of the first flag-raising, and told Rosenthal he missed his chance. But he went to the top of the mountain anyways, and arrived just in time to catch the second flag-raising, this time with a much bigger flag.

3. What happened to the men?

Sadly, 3 of the marines in the photo - Michael Strank, Franklin Sousley and Harlon Block - died less than a week after the photo was taken.

Two of the surviving men, Ira Hayes and Rene Gagnon, were ordered back to America, where they traveled the country on a 33-city publicity tour to help the war effort, raising a flag at every stop along the way. A Navy sailor named John Bradley, who raised the first flag, also tagged along for the tour.

4. It was captured on video

Seargeant Bill Genaust, a Marine photographer who died shortly after the flag-raising, managed to capture the moment on film just a few feet away from Rosenthal, meaning his footage has the same dramatic angle as the photograph.

So why did this picture become so famous?

Page 1 Next Page

Related Articles