Joe Rosenthal – Iconic Iwo Jima photo revealed a lot about war and Americans

August 22, 2006

Photo by Joe Rosenthal, Associated Press


Joe Rosenthal died. He took the photo of the U.S. flag-raising atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima that became an icon of the Pacific War, of dedication to duty, and of the deeper, sometimes darker currents of war and life in the U.S.

The Los Angeles Times captured the basics of the story, noting that the photo Rosenthall took was the second raising of a larger flag, a smaller one having been raised a bit earlier. (Other worthwhile stories include those in the Seattle Times,, and The San Francisco Times.)

Mt. Suribachi, though little more than a large mound on the island, is the highest point there and visible all around the island. The raising of the flag on that spot was a morale booster for U.S. troops and a morale-buster for holdout Japanese troops engaged in one of the nastiest, bloodiest battles of a nasty, bloody war. As the LA Times noted, a third of all U.S. Marines to die in the war died on Iwo Jima: 5,931. Nearly 7,000 U.S. servicemen died, in total — and, fighting to the death from deeply hidden tunnels, nearly all of the Japanese defenders died. Read the rest of this entry »

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