This iconic photo of Marines raising the American flag at the summit of Mt. Suribachi during the battle for Iwo Jima has become an enduring image of bravery and heroism. However, this was actually the second flag raised on the mountain’s summit that day. The first flag-raising occurred a couple of hours earlier – shortly after Marines had gained the top of the mountain after hard fighting.
On February 23, a patrol of 40 men from 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, led by 1st LT Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier, assembled at the base of Mount Suribachi. The platoon’s mission was to take the crater of Suribachi’s peak and raise theU.S.flag. Present at the crest were six Marines of a 40-man patrol. They were 1st Lieutenant Schrier, Sergeant Thomas, Sergeant Hansen, Private First Class Charlo, Private First Class Michels, and Corporal Charles W. Lindberg.
The flag was hoisted on a steel pipe above the island. Marine Corps photographer Sergeant Lou Lowery captured the first flag raising on film just as the enemy hurled a grenade in his direction. Dodging the grenade, Lowery hurled his body over the edge of the crater and tumbled 50 feet. His camera lens was shattered, but he and his film were safe. The second picture was taken later with a larger flag.
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