Aug 21 2006 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Photographer Joe Rosenthal, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his immortal image of six World War II servicemen raising an American flag over battle-scarred Iwo Jima, died Sunday. He was 94

1-400th of a second shot.

Story highlighted in numbers with only one comment at the end.

Flag-Raising on Mt. Suribachi

AP Wide World Photo by Joe Rosenthal
First facts and numbers:

- Iwo Jima was a larger island, a little less than 8 square miles, and not flat like Betio. It rose to the height of a 550-foot hill we call Mount Suribachi. And it was much closer to Japan, just 660 miles from Tokyo.

Feb. 19, 1945, and this time 3 Marine Divisions would be thrown against the Japanese, and supported on the island by some Navy and Army units, as well as the ships offshore.

From the Mar. 26, 1945 issue of TIME magazine
Last week the nation learned just how many Marine soldiers, carrying rifles and grenades, had paid the price to take Iwo Jima: 4,189 dead, 441 missing, 15,308 wounded—total casualties of 19,938. This was as high as Tarawa and Saipan combined, higher than the number of Union casualties in any of the bloody battles of the Civil War except Gettysburg.

From the Mar. 26, 1945 issue of TIME magazine
On D-plus-four, Sergeant Lowery, the only photographer present, scrambled to the top of 546-ft. Suribachi, took 56 pictures of marines raising a 3-ft. American flag under heavy fire. A Jap grenade landed at Lowery's feet; he ducked, tumbled 50 feet down the side of the volcano, wrenched his side, smashed his camera. For all his pains, his shot of Iwo's first flag raising was far from dramatic. A few hours later, when firing was less severe but still continuing, a second band of marines made their way to the top, planted a larger flag in the same spot. This time A.P.'s Rosenthal was along, got his great picture.
The fighting at Iwo Jima continued for 31 more days. Three of the six flag-raisers were killed in the battle for Iwo Jima. Five of the 11 men in the two flag-raisings never left Iwo Jima alive.
President Franklin Roosevelt made the photograh the theme for the Seventh War Bond Tour and ordered the War Department to "Transfer immediately by air to Washington, D.C. the 6 men who appear in the Rosenthal photograph of flag raising at Mt. Suribachi."
(just a note: President Roosevelt paid for WWII by selling Bonds to the US public)
The 7th Bond Tour raised $24 Billion (1945 Dollars) for the US Treasury, more than any other bond tour. To put this into perspective, the total US Budget in 1946 was $56 Billion. This would be the largest borrowing from the American public in history.
In two months everyone in America would see this picture over and over. You couldn't avoid it.
It hung in: One million Retail Store windows; 16,000 Movie Theaters; 15,000 Banks; 200,000 Factories; 30,000 Railroad Stations;5,000 Large Billboards.
A stamp commemorating the Flag Raising picture was issued just five months after the Flag-Raising. On the day of issue, people stood patiently in lines stretching for city blocks on a sweltering July day in 1945 for a chance to buy the beloved stamp. For many years, this was the biggest selling stamp in the history of the US Post Office. (Over 137 million sold.)
Fifty Years Later...

Fifty Years Later, Iwo Jima Photographer Fights His Own Battle Fifty years ago this month, a young Associated Press photographer named Joe Rosenthal shot the most memorable photograph of World War II, a simple, stirring image of five Marines and one Navy corpsman raising the flag at Iwo Jima. Rosenthal is 83 now, nearly blind, a pudgy man with a dapper white mustache and a horseshoe of white hair curving around the back of a largely bald head. He lives alone in San Francisco, near Golden Gate Park, in a little apartment largely given over to stacks of correspondence and documentation related to Iwo Jima.
For Joe Rosenthal, Iwo Jima brought fame but not fortune, acclaim but not overwhelming success. He spent the rest of his career as a workaday photographer at the San Francisco Chronicle, shooting politicians and drug dealers, fires and parades.
For 50 years now, Rosenthal has battled a perception that he somehow staged the flag-raising picture, or covered up the fact that it was actually not the first flag-raising at Iwo Jima.

Eleven Years Later...
Aug 21 2006 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Photographer Joe Rosenthal, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his immortal image of six World War II servicemen raising an American flag over battle-scarred Iwo Jima, died Sunday. He was 94.
Finally, erroneous stories of the restaging, capture of the second flag raising are not important any more...
What is important that Joe Rosenthal took a Photo of The Century, and this photo will remain imbedded in the whole generation's memories.
Just one more sentence from the same 1945 issue of TIME magazine...

Somewhere in the U.S. an American woman had written: "Please, for God's sake, stop sending our finest youth to be murdered on places like Two Jima. It is too much for boys to stand, too much for mothers and homes to take. It is driving some mothers crazy. Why can't objectives be accomplished some other way? It is most inhuman and awful—stop, stop!"

Sounds very timely...