Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Worth the trip

Usually just called "The Iwo Jima Statue," it's actually the Marine Corps War Memorial located near the Arlington National Cemetery.

The bronze statue depicts the raising of the American flag atop Mount Suribachi at the southern tip of the island of Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945 during the Battle of Iwo Jima. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" by war photographer Joe Rosenthal. Felix W. de Weldon was the sculptor.

Joe Rosenthal died this week. He had been rejected for military service because of very poor eyesight, so he became a photographer for the Associated Press. There is live film of the raising of the flag proving that it was not staged.

I have never been very impressed by Washington, D.C. The Washington Monument is two different colors of stone, making the bottom part of it look dirty. The inside of the Supreme Court Building is nothing but a bunch of pillars. The public rooms in the White House are much smaller than you would expect, and mostly full of old furniture. The capitol is mostly full of old men in bad suits, and has been added onto many time seemingly without regard for what was there before.

The Iwo Jima Statue, however, just takes your breadth away.

The base is 10 feet high. The rock slope atop the base rises 6 feet. The 32-foot-high figures are erecting a 60-foot bronze flagpole. The M-1 rifle is 16 feet long. The carbine is 12 feet. The canteens would hold 32 quarts of water. At a total 78 feet, it is the largest bronze statue in the world.
It is believed that Joe Rosenthal's photograph (below) has been reproduced more than any other American photograph.


The Phoenix said...

Mount Suribachi?

Are you Suribouthat? hahahaha

OK, that was just plain awful. I saw something about the photograph, the film, and the statue on the History Channel not too long ago.

I'd love to see it in person myself.
hope you get a chance to see it, everyone should

:P fuzzbox said...

I saw the Sunset Parade at the Iwo Jima Memorial when I was in High School. It is a memory that I will hold for the rest of my life. It helps define for me what it is to be an American.
great memorials are organic, like the Vietnam Wall, the reaction should be profound for anyone who experiences it

moni said...

Semper Fi
which, oddly enough, is also my ancient family motto (in gaelic)[true]

Amy in StL said...

I'd always heard it was staged. They'd done it earlier, but then it was staged for the photo. Kind of like McArthur's famous return to the Phillipines photo was staged. Oh, and the WWII memorial is also incredible!
the film, which is in color, shows it all as one continuous event, with no stopping of the film -- on the other hand, at that time it was considered entirely acceptable to "improve" events to make a better picture -- Margaret Bourke-White for example would simply move people around to make a better composition -- a little more on the questionable side, the new reels would apparently just stage events

Amy in StL said...

I looked it up and it was kind of staged. The second was just a better picture.
there were two flag raised and two photographs taken, neither of them staged -- the first was with a smaller flag -- when the Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, reached the island and saw that flag he decided he wanted it for his private collection, not something the 2nd Battalion Commander was about to let happen, so he ordered a second flag raised -- the second raising also was not staged, Rosenthal barely turned his camera in time and there were still large numbers of Japanese soldiers in the area at the time (who were pinned down by bombardment)

-- Rosenthal then had all of the nearby troops poise for a group photo, he later described this photo as being "staged" -- this was the start of the confusion and controversy