On the fourth day of the battle, a small patrol of 40 men reached the top of Mount Suribachi. There they raised a small American flag at the highest point on the island. Two hours later, a larger flag was raised in place of the first flag. Photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped a picture of this second flag-raising. His picture has become one of the most famous photographs in history, and it is the symbol of the bravery and sacrifice of the Marines and Navy personnel who took the island.
The battle for Iwo Jima went on for another month, ending on March 26, 1945. More than 6,000 American servicemen lost their lives and more than 19,000 were wounded. More than 20,000 Japanese soldiers lost their lives.
There were six men in the Rosenthal photo, five Marines and a Navy corpsman. Before the end of the battle, three of the marines were dead and the corpsman was severely wounded.
Last week, at a special Veterans Day program at St. Clair County High School in Odenville, members of the Howlin’ Mad Smith Detachment of the Marine Corps League honored the memory of the men who sacrificed so much on that small island by re-enacting that famous photograph.