After 70 years, Iwo Jima flag debate still simmers

Today is the 70th anniversary of the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima.

Chances are this isn’t the picture that will accompany the stories on the anniversary today.


This is the first flag raising, Richfield’s Charles W. Lindberg insisted for decades. It was taken by Sgt. Lou Lowery, a photographer from Leatherneck, the Marine Corps magazine.

Three of the men in the photo never saw it; they died in the subsequent battle.

Lindberg said his commander ordered the flag replaced and safeguarded because he worried someone would take it as a souvenir, the New York Times said in his obituary. “Mr. Lindberg was back in combat when six men raised the second, larger flag, about four hours later,” he said.

That’s when Joe Rosenthal got the money shot for the Associated Press.


That wasn’t the only shot he took of the moment.

U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment of the Fifth Division raise the American flag after capturing the 550-foot Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima, the largest Volcano Islands of Japan, on Feb. 23, 1945 during World War II.  (AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal) U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, fifth division, cheer and hold up their rifles after raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, a volcanic Japanese island, on Feb. 23, 1945 during World War II.  (AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal)

Seven thousand Marines were killed on Iwo Jima in a month of fighting. That’s about 200 more than the number of U.S. soldiers killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

Archive: Last Iwo Jima flag-raising soldier dies (NewsCut).