Iwo Jima Memorial Washington D.C. One of the world’s most iconic sculptures

Outside the walls of the Arlington National Cemetery stands this impressive and imposing memorial. It’s dedicated to all personnel of the U.S. Marine Corps who have died defending their country. The design is based on a photograph of 5 marines and one navy corpsman who raised the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi after the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The memorial took 3 years to make. It was sculpted by Felix de Weldon, who created a full-sized master model in plaster with figures 32 feet (9.8 meters) tall. This was then taken apart and each piece was cast in bronze. The figures were then reassembled on site.

Strong words

Hop off your Washington D.C. Bus Tour here, and walk around the memorial to view inscriptions at its front and rear. Inscribed in gold letters around the polished black granite base of the memorial is the date and location of every major action the U.S. Marine Corps has been involved in up until the present day.

Show of hands

There’s an on-going rumor that there are 13 hands visible on the statue, but only 6 men. See how many hands you can count. Despite the rumors, it’s an extremely popular sculpture, and there are versions of it across the U.S. at military academies and other sites.

Other interesting facts about the Iwo Jima Memorial

  • Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took the famous photograph that the memorial is based on
  • As soon as he saw the photo, sculptor Felix de Weldon made a model for the statue in just one weekend
  • The flagpole is 60 feet (18 meters) long
  • A flag must be flown here 24 hours a day