Iwo Jima Homage Covers

Joe Rosenthal’s “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” (February 23, 1945)

“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” is an iconic photograph of six United States Marines raising the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the final stages of World War II in the Pacific. The photograph, taken by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press on February 23, 1945, was first published in Sunday newspapers on February 25 and reprinted in thousands of publications. It was the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and was later used for the construction of the Marine Corps War Memorial in 1954, which was dedicated to honor all Marines who died for their country since 1775. Rosenthal’s photograph has come to be regarded in the United States as one of the most significant and recognizable images of World War II.

The flag raising captured in the photograph occurred in the early afternoon; a smaller flag had been raised earlier that morning immediately following the successful campaign to capture the mountaintop. Three of the six Marines in the photograph – Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon Block, and Private First Class Franklin Sousley – were killed in action during the battle. The surviving Marines in the photograph were Private First Class Ira Hayes, Private First Class Harold Schultz, and Private First Class Harold Keller. All six marines in the photograph served in the 5th Marine Division on Iwo Jima.

The flag-raising scene has been used in homage and parody across titles and publishers. Perhaps most ambitiously, DC Comics launched its New 52 Justice League of America with more than 50 variants by artist David Finch — which included flags of each of the 50 United States, the flag of the United States and a sketch variant.