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USMC War Memorial

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The American flag waves over the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, located in Washington, D.C.

The Marine Corps War Memorial is a military memorial statue located adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery in Rosslyn, Virginia, U.S.A. The memorial is dedicated to all personnel of the U.S. Marine Corps who have died in the defense of the United States since 1775.

The bronze statue depicts the raising of the American flag atop Mount Suribachi at the southern tip of the island of Iwo Jima on February 23 1945 during the Battle of Iwo Jima. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" by war photographer Joe Rosenthal. Felix W. de Weldon, a sculptor who was serving with the U.S. Navy was inspired to reproduce the photograph as a model and later a life-sized statue. The statue itself was cast in 108 pieces at the Bedi-Rassy Art Foundry Brooklyn, New York, taking some three years to complete. The entire $850,000 cost the memorial was donated. It is currently managed by the National Park Service.

In 1951 work commenced on creating a cast bronze memorial based on the statue, with the figures 10 metres (32 feet) tall and the flagpole 20 metres (60 feet) long. The granite base of the memorial bears two inscriptions:

  • "In honor and in memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since November 10, 1775."
  • "Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue." — a tribute by Admiral Chester Nimitz to the fighting men on Iwo Jima.

The base also lists the location and date of every major Marine Corps engagement.

The memorial was officially dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on 10th November, 1954, the 179th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps.

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy issued a proclamation that a U.S. Flag should fly from the memorial 24 hours a day — one of the few official sites where this is permitted.

The original plaster working model of the statue currently stands in Harlingen, Texas at the Marine Military Academy, a private Marine Corps-inspired youth military academy.

The National Iwo Jima Memorial in Newington, Connecticut uses a similar design and is dedicated to 6,821 men who died in the battle.

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