Historic World War II Photo, 75 Years Ago

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Kelby Crawford

This past Sunday marks the 75 year anniversary of US forces raising a flag on Iwo Jima, a brief moment in time captured in an iconic photograph. AP photographer Joe Rosenthal took this photo of six US Marines raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. The Pacific island became the site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II against Japan. The battle on the small volcanic island of Iwo Jima had been raging for five days, with both American and Japanese forces suffering heavy casualties. Eventually, more than 6,500 Americans and 21,000 Japanese troops would be killed over 36 days of fighting. That day, Joe Rosenthal of The Associated Press hurriedly snapped a photo of six Marines ordered to raise a flag atop Mount Suribachi. The six men pictured in the photograph was later identified as Harlon Block, Harold Keller, Ira Hayes, Harold Schultz, Franklin Sousley, and Michael Strank. Appearing in newspapers nationwide, the became so popular it was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1945 and the scene was later used for the USMC Memorial in Arlington.