The Marine Corps War Memorial stands as a symbol of this grateful Nation’s esteem for the honored dead of the U.S. Marine Corps. While the statue depicts one of the most iconic photos of World War II, the memorial is dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in the defense of the United States, since 1775.
The Marine Corps War Memorial depicts the raising of the American flag at Mount Suribachi on 23 February 1945 by U.S. Marines in World War II during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
The monument is located in Arlington, Virginia on a 7½-acre tract of land managed by the Department of the Interior. The site is on a hill approximately 100 feet above the Potomac River, and offers a scenic view of the Nation’s capital.
Iwo Jima, which means Sulfur Island, was strategically important as an air base for fighter escorts supporting long-range bombing missions against mainland Japan. Because of the distance between mainland Japan and U.S. bases in the Mariana Islands, the capture of Iwo Jima would provide an emergency landing strip for crippled B-29 planes returning from bombing runs. The seizure of Iwo would allow for sea and air blockades, the ability to conduct intensive air bombardment and to destroy the enemy’s air and naval capabilities. The seizure of Iwo Jima was deemed necessary, but the prize would not come easy. The fighting that took place during the 36-day assault would be immortalized in the words of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who said, “Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
The memorial features the Marines and Sailor who raised the second flag over Iwo Jima: Sgt Michael Strank, Cpl Harlon Block, PFC Franklin Sousley, PFC Rene Gagnon, PFC Ira Hayes, PM2 John Bradley.
In honor and memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since 10 November 1775
Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue.