Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010
Hundreds of Marine Corps veterans, military representatives, politicians, and National Park Service staff will today be attending the 65th anniversary commemoration of the flag raisings on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. The ceremony, organized by the Marine Corps War Memorial Foundation, Inc., is being held at the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
The ceremony will be timed to the minute to commemorate the same time 65 years ago that five Marines and one Navy corpsman had their images etched in history when photographed by an Associated Press correspondent. This iconic image by Joe Rosenthal is now memorialized at the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, and the photo capturing the second flag raising later won a Pulitzer Prize. The memorial was dedicated on November 10, 1954, and honors all Marines who gave their lives for our country.
Considered one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, the battle for Iwo Jima lasted for 36 days – from February 19 to March 26, 1945 – where over 70,000 U.S. Marines served, with nearly 7,000 Marines killed or missing and almost 20,000 Marines wounded.
Numerous World War II veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima will participate in a ceremony with active duty Marines at the memorial. Music and anthems will be provided by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, and ceremonial Marine Corps honor guard will highlight a wreath-laying ceremony. A Marine Corps aircraft flyover is also planned.
Prior to the event, dozens of GWMP staff and active duty Marines furiously shoveled nearly two feet of snow and ice from the Memorial Plaza and surrounding paths in an effort to accommodate the hundreds of visitors anticipated for this special event. Without their efforts, this event would most certainly have been cancelled or seriously curtailed due to the recent snowfalls in the Washington area.