MARINE CORPS WAR MEMORIAL
UNCOMMON VALOR WAS A COMMON VIRTUE
The second series on my tour of the National War Memorials and Monuments in Washington D.C. on April 6, 2013 with Lenzner Tours and Travel.
Rising from hallowed ground, the Marine Corps War Memorial overlooks the Potomac River at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. It is the largest bronze monument in the world. Arguably, it is also the most famous monument in the world. And for all who have earned the title, a pilgrimage to the monument is required. The six flag-raisers represented a cross-section of America:
– PFC Ira Hayes, a full-blooded Pima Indian from Arizona.
– Sgt. Michael Strank, a Pennsylvania coal mine worker.
– Cpl. Harlon Block, a draftee from the Texas oil fields.
– PFC Franklin Sousley, a 19-year-old Kentucky farm boy.
– PFC Rene Gagnon, a New Englander.
– PM2 (Corpsman) John Bradley, a funeral director’s apprentice
The Marines and Sailors who fought on Iwo Jima wore sage green herringbone twill, better know as HBT’s, uniforms. The standard footgear was rough out leather shoes known as “boondockers” and the ensemble was topped off with the M1 steel helmet. These uniform items are accurately recreated in the memorial sculpture.
The three surviving flag raisers—Gagnon, Hayes, and Bradley—posed for the sculptor, who modeled their faces in clay. All available pictures and physical characteristics of the three who had given their lives—Strank, Block, and Sousley—were collected and then used in the modeling of their faces.
BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!