On Feb. 23, 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima (Feb. 19 to March 26), six Marines planted the U.S. flag at the summit of Mount Suribachi. The scene was photographed by journalist Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press and his image soon became famous around the world. What many people do not know is that this iconic photo actually shows the second flag to be raised on Iwo Jima that day.
Who raised the first flag on Iwo Jima?
Located on the southern tip of the Japanese island, Mount Suribachi is a dormant volcano that is 546 feet (166 meters) high. The summit has a dominating view of the rest of Iwo Jima, including its black sand beaches. During the battle, one of the bloodiest in the Pacific theater, Japanese forces used this vantage point to direct artillery fire onto the American forces. Soon after the start of the battle, the Americans aimed to capture the position.