The Story Behind The Iconic Image Of U.S. Forces At Iwo Jima Is Being Questioned


When most of us think of America and patriotism, there will be certain images that come to mind. These are historic, iconic photos that have helped us to define our national identity by depicting events that helped to forge the modern world. One such image was the photo of a flag being planted by a few, brave soldiers at Iwo Jima during World War II. That photo, taken on February 23rd, 1945 by Joe Rosenthal, is one that has graced textbooks, newspapers, and memorials ever since. James Bradley’s accompanying story, Flags of Our Fathers, helped to give that moment more context.

According to the New York Times, Bradley has revealed that he isn’t quite so sure that his father, John Bradley, was actually depicted in that iconic image. The Marine Corps just launched an investigation into uncovering if the identities of the marines in the photo are accurate, or if perhaps they were wrong. According to Bradley, his father, a Navy corpsman, had been involved in a flag raising in Iwo Jima, but it may not have been that exact photo. He chalks it up to his father’s experiences in the war and how things tend to get a bit foggy over time.

Doubts were first raised about the identity of the men in the photo back in 2014 when an amateur historian noted differences in the uniforms that the Navy corpsman like Bradley’s father had worn and what the men in the photo were wearing. The military seemed happy to let this issue slide for years but now seems set on trying to figure out the secrets of this famous photo. Regardless of the findings, the image will remain a defining moment in American history. Bradley’s Flags of Our Fathers was adapted into a motion picture by Clint Eastwood that was met to universal acclaim, only increasing the mythological status attached to this image and the men involved with it.

(Via The New York Times)