Bringing the Text to Life
It's an unforgettable photo.
The raising of the flag at Iwo Jima.
In fact, if you had to pick 10 photographs to tell the story of our country, this one featuring U.S. soldiers lifting up the American flag would be one of them, nevermind that it was a posed re-enactment of the real thing.
Iwo Jima is a dot in the Pacific where the United States needed a landing strip for bombers striking Japan during World War II. Some 70,000 marines were sent to take it from a dug-in enemy. "The thing I'll remember forever," recounts retired Major General Fred Haynes, "was the courage and the guts of the kids ... and these were young kids."
They were kids. But also heroes.
There are six flag raisers in the photo. The front four are Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, John Bradley and Harlon Block. The back two are Michael Strank and Rene Gagnon.
Strank, Block and Sousley would die shortly afterward. Bradley, Hayes and Gagnon became national heroes within weeks.
What's most amazing is how ordinary each of these...