The Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima), by Felix de Weldon

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“Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press caught the afternoon flag-raising in an iconic photograph that eventually won a Pulitzer Prize. Sculptor Felix W. de Weldon, then on duty with the US Navy, was so moved by the image that he constructed first a scale model and then a life-size model of it. Gagnon, Hayes, and Bradley, the three men who were identified at the time as the survivors of the flag raising (the others were killed on Iwo Jima), posed for the sculptor as he modeled their faces in clay. All available pictures and physical statistics of the three who had given their lives were collected and then used in the modeling of their faces.

“Once the statue was completed in plaster, it was carefully disassembled and trucked to Brooklyn, N.Y., for casting in bronze. The casting process, which required the work of experienced artisans, took nearly 3 years. After the parts had been cast, cleaned, finished, and chased, they were reassembled into approximately a dozen pieces--the largest weighing more than 20 tons--and brought back to Washington, D.C., by a three-truck convoy. Here they were bolted and welded together, and the statue was treated with preservatives.” —

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The original 1945 photograph ny Joe Rosenthal

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The narrative of the Iwo Jima photograph that led to de Weldon's sculpture

"The American people saw Rosenthal's photo as a potent symbol of victory. Wire services flashed what would become a Pulitzer Prize winning photograph around the world in time to appear in the Sunday newspapers on February 25, 1945. Many magazines ran the photo on their covers. After the battle for Iwo Jima was over and won, the photo was used for posters in war bond drives through over 30 cities from May 11 through July 4, 1945 which raised $26.3 billion." -- Wikipedia

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