PowerLine notes that it was sixty years ago today — February 23, 1945 — that six Marines raised the American Flag on Iwo Jima, on day five of a 36-day battle.
The flag raisers: Three of those Marines were killed later in the battle: Mike Strank, Harlon Block, and Franklin Sousley. The others were uniform in denying their own heroism and paying tribute to their buddies, especially those who didn’t make it back.
The battle: Out of a force of 110,000 American Marines, 6,825 were killed (twice as many as the number of people killed on 9/11/01), and 19,026 were wounded. The Japanese defended the island with 22,000 soldiers. The Japanese strategy was “no Japanese survivors” and the goal was for each Japanese to kill 10 Americans before being killed himself. They didn’t achieve that goal, but the did achieve, or nearly achieve, the goal of “no Japanese survivors.” A description of the battle is here.
There is a fascinating story about a sermon given at the memorial service held for fallen Marines on the island immediately after the battle.
And of course, the famous photo above became the model for the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial and other similar memorials around the country.