There are many photos of soldiers fighting in World War II. But the image that became the iconic representation of the American fighting spirit was taken by Joe Rosenthal at the top of Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945.
The photograph was taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima about 90 minutes after a smaller flag was raised on the mountain. The image was so popular throughout the United States that it became synonymous with American pride and the Marine Corps’ fighting spirit.
A sculpture of the event was made into the Marine Corps War Memorial located in Arlington Ridge Park. Rosenthal took photographs throughout the war, but this image is his best known. He received little money for his work but has since been honored for his contributions.
Following his death, he was posthumously awarded the Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award by the United States Marine Corps. Sig Gissler, an administrator for the Pulitzer Prizes for Columbia University, once said, “Of all the images that have captured Pulitzer Prizes, none is more memorable than Joe Rosenthal’s raising of the flag on Iwo Jima.”