Obit of the Day: Provided the Flag on Iwo Jima
A tired Marine boarded the USS Greene County looking for a flag - a really big flag. Naval Officer Alan Wood happened to have a flag that he had found at the Pearl Harbor Naval Depot months earlier. He handed it to the Marine who then left.
Mr. Wood would next see his flag waving from the top of Mt. Suribachi. It was the second flag to be raised on February 23, 1945. The first was either deemed not big enough or given to Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. The second flag raising was captured on film by Joe Rosenthal.
The photo of five Marines and one Navy corpsman planting and raising Alan Wood’s 37-square foot flag won Rosenthal the Pulitzer Prize. It would also become so identified with the Marine Corps that Felix de Weldon would make a bronze copy of the scene for the Marine Corps Memorial.
Alan Wood, who made an iconic moment possible, died on April 18, 2013 at the age of 90.
(Image is copyright of Joe Rosenthal/AP and courtesy of bravomilitary.com)
* The Japanese had approximately 20,000 defending the island. At the end of the 36-day battle, only 1,083 were still alive.
^ Of the six men in the photograph, only three would survive the battle of Iwo Jima: Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, and John Bradley. Mr. Bradley’s son James wrote a book re-telling the story of the battle, the flag raising, and the lives of the three men following the publication of the photograph in his best-selling book Flags of Our Fathers. (It was also made into a 2006 film directed by Clint Eastwood.)