Military Wiki
Marine Corps War Memorial
United States of America
The Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., can be seen prior to the Sunset Parade June 4, 2013 130604-M-MM982-036.jpg
Marine Corps War Memorial
For all personnel of the United States Marine Corps who have died in the defense of their country since 1775
Unveiled November 10, 1954
Location 38°53′25.7″N 77°04′10.85″W / 38.890472°N 77.0696806°W / 38.890472; -77.0696806
near Rosslyn, Virginia
Designed by Felix de Weldon
In honor and memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since November 10, 1775
Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue

The Marine Corps War Memorial (also called the Iwo Jima Memorial) is a military memorial statue outside the walls of the Arlington National Cemetery and next to the Netherlands Carillon, in Arlington Ridge Park, Arlington, Virginia, in the United States. The memorial is dedicated to all personnel of the United States Marine Corps who have died in the defense of their country since 1775. The memorial features the six men who raised the second flag over Iwo Jima: Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon Block, Private First Class Franklin Sousley, Private First Class Rene Gagnon, Private First Class Ira Hayes, and Hospital Corpsman John Bradley. The design of the massive sculpture by Felix de Weldon was based on the iconic photograph of the raising of the second flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. Upon first seeing the photograph in 1945, de Weldon created his maquette for the sculpture, a wax model of the image, during a single weekend. It was presented at Congress to encourage funding.

Funding was not possible during the war. In 1947 a federal foundation was established to raise funds for the bronze statue proposed by de Weldon.


Identity of the six men depicted in the statue

In 1951, work commenced on creating a commissioned, cast bronze memorial based on the photograph, with the figures 32 feet (9.8 m) tall and the flagpole 60 feet (18 m) long. The granite base of the memorial bears two inscriptions:

  • "In honor and memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since November 10, 1775"
  • "Uncommon Valor Was a Common Virtue" (a tribute by Admiral Chester Nimitz to the fighting men on Iwo Jima)

The location and date of every major United States Marine Corps engagement up to the present are inscribed around the base of the memorial. The base is made entirely in the deep black diabase of Lönsboda, a small town and a granite quarry in the southernmost province of Sweden.[1]

The memorial on top of
Mount Suribachi

The official dedication of the memorial by President Dwight D. Eisenhower occurred on November 10, 1954, the 179th anniversary of the Marine Corps. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued a proclamation that a Flag of the United States should fly from the memorial 24 hours a day, one of the few official sites where this is required. The Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. uses this memorial as a centerpiece of the weekly Sunset Parade featuring the Drum and Bugle Corps and the Silent Drill Platoon.

Similar statues

When there were no government funds for sculpture during the war, the sculptor financed a concrete version of similar design in a one-third size that was placed on a parcel of land in Washington, D.C. until 1947, when it was put into storage. It later was restored and displayed at a museum on an aircraft carrier and again, returned to storage. This small concrete statue of the second U.S. flag raising at Iwo Jima in 1945 was scheduled to be auctioned in February 2013 at a New York auction dedicated to World War II artifacts,[2] but it failed to receive the minimum bid required for the auction of it to begin. The original plaster working model for the bronze and granite memorial statue currently stands in Harlingen, Texas at the Marine Military Academy, a private Marine Corps-inspired youth military academy. The Academy also is the final resting place of Corporal Harlon Block, who was killed in action on Iwo Jima.

A small model stands in the lobby of Spruance Hall, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. It was presented by the sculptor, a resident of Newport. There also are scaled-down replicas at three Marine bases: just outside the front gate of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, adjacent to the parade deck at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, and just inside the main gate at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kāne'ohe Bay, Hawaii.

A version of the memorial dedicated in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of World War II stands in the Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania.

The National Iwo Jima Memorial in central Connecticut

In Newington, Connecticut a similar design is used for their National Iwo Jima Memorial, which is dedicated to the 6,821 U.S. servicemen who died in the battle.

Another copy of the statue is located at Fall River Bicentennial Park in Massachusetts.

Yet another copy of the statue is located in Cape Coral, Florida.

Number of hands

There are twelve hands in the memorial corresponding to the six figures depicted. A persistent rumor has attributed the existence of a thirteenth hand and speculation about the possible reasons for it. When informed of the rumor, de Weldon exclaimed, "Thirteen hands. Who needed 13 hands? Twelve were enough."[3]

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. (in Swedish) Translation, page 3 line 28-29: The most famous war memorial in the United States, U.S. Marine Corps Memorial in Washington D.C., stands on a base in granite pieces from Hägghult. Hägghult is the name of the quarry, just outside Lönsboda.
  2. "Original Iwo Jima monument could fetch up to $1.8M at NYC auction". Fox News. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  3. Kelly, John (February 23, 2005). "One Marine's Moment". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. ISSN 0190-8286: The Washington Post Company. p. C13. Archived from the original on 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 

External links

Coordinates: 38°53′26″N 77°04′11″W / 38.890432°N 77.069714°W / 38.890432; -77.069714

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