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Marines raised the flag on this day in 1945 for iconic Corps photo

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Joe Rosenthal
Photographer Joe Rosenthal, left, takes a group shot of U.S. Marines after raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945.

“The 28th Regiment of the United States Marines was observed raising the United States flag on the summit of Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Island at 10:35 a.m. today.”

This short communiqué was issued by Adm. Charles W. Nimitz on this date in 1945. The Daily Progress shared the Associated Press story that described how “the Leathernecks won command of the 566-foot height from which the Japanese had cast down a deadly mortar and artillery fire.”

The rather graphic account went on to say “The Stars and Stripes were raised over the volcanic Suribachi fortress 97 hours after the costly invasion began and Marines started cleaning out Japanese still clinging to the crater with flamethrowers.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph shown above, “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,” was taken by Joe Rosenthal and was later used by sculptor Felix de Weldon for the War Memorial.

This past Saturday, Marine Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden, born in Charlottesville in 1921 and the last known survivor of the Iwo Jima battle, passed away at the age of 95 in Tallahassee, Fla. Snowden received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 1942 and soon thereafter enlisted in the where he served for 37 years.

Snowden was serving as a Company Commander with the 23rd Marines when Iwo Jima was taken. In addition to being highly decorated for his military service, Snowden was perhaps best known for his efforts in the organization of the Joint Reunions of Honor, recognizing the sacrifices of soldiers on both sides of the battle.

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