The Marine Corps has declared they are starting an investigation of whether it mistakenly identified one of the men shown raising the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima, one of the most iconic pictures from the World War II.
The famous picture of the six men that are shown raising an American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima in February 1945 was taken by photographer Joe Rosenthal. At that time, Rosenthal didn’t get the names of the men, but the photo immediately was celebrated in the U.S. and President Franklin Roosevelt told the military to identify the men.
Decades to identify
Why investigate this now? Was there a reason to start doing it? In 2014, two amateur historians – Eric Krelle, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Stephen Foley, of Wexford, Ireland – began raising issues regarding one service member supposedly depicted in the picture, Navy Corpsman John Bradley.
After all this theories and so-called evidence, Krelle and Wexford, back in November 2014, appeared on the Omaha World-Herald where an extensive story was published about their claims and on Saturday it was the first to report the Marines were looking into the matter.
Actually, the Marines identified the men as John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Harlon Block, Michael Strank and Franklin Sousley. All were Marines except Bradley, who was a Navy corpsman.
Also on Monday, the Marines issued a statement saying that The Marine Corps was examining the information provided by a private organization related to Joe Rosenthal’s Associated Press photograph of the second flag raising on Iwo Jima.
“Rosenthal’s photo captured a single moment in the 36-day battle during which more than 6,500 US servicemen made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation and it is representative of the more than 70,000 US Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Coast Guardsmen that took part in the battle. We are humbled by the service and sacrifice of all who fought on Iwo Jima,” the Corps stated.
The Marine Corps also had the help of Hal Buell, who is a retired Associated Press executive news photo editor. They had a long discussion with Rosenthal about the flag-raising picture, and in 2006 wrote a book about the famous image.
Buell said that it’s hard to understand the photo’s power in 1945 to Americans, who were weary of the war and horrified by the incredible number of deaths by servicemen, especially in locations of Asia most had never heard of.
— Dan Taekema (@DanTaekema) February 16, 2015
Source: Omaha World Herald