Iwo Jima Memorial DCRoad Trip Stops . Virginia . Washington DC
Iwo Jima Memorial DC
The Iwo Jima Memorial wasn’t on our Roadtrippers itinerary either, but it was a sentimental stop that I wanted to make with my son, for a few reasons.
My brother was going to join the Marine Corps when I was a teenager. But he was born deaf in one ear, so he needed a waiver to join. While he was working on getting that waiver, he was working a construction job and put a 16-penny nail through his eye. This disqualified him.
When I went to Washington DC my second time, on a business trip which disappointed my son, I stopped by a gift shop at one of the national monuments and bought my son a small Iwo Jima Memorial figurine for his bedroom.
Also, being the most famous incident of World War II, my son is familiar with the incident as part of his fascination with World War II. Naturally, I had to take him to visit the actual memorial while we were in the area. He loved it.
We also found a letterbox nearby. Icing on the cake!
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About Iwo Jima Memorial DC
Six hundred miles south of Tokyo lies the tiny island of Iwo Jima with the narrow southern tip of the island being occupied by Mount Suribachi, an extinct volcano which rises 550 feet above the ocean around it. In 1945, American troops were working to recapture the islands in the Pacific Ocean that had been taken by the Japanese during Pearl Harbor.
Iwo Jima was invaded by the U.S. Marines on the morning of February 19, 1945, on orders to capture Mount Suribachi. They reached the base of the mountain in the afternoon of February 21 and almost completely surrounded it by nightfall the following day. The began the torturous climb to the top through the rough terrain on the morning of February 23.
At around 10:30am, people all over the island could see a small American flag flying from the top of the mountain. They were thrilled by the sight. A larger flag was raised later that afternoon after the slopes had been cleared of enemy resistance. An iconic photograph was taken by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press which won a Pulitzer Prize.
The Statue & Memorial
A U.S. Navy man and sculptor, Felix W. de Weldon was so touched by the photo, he constructed a life-sized model of the flag raising. Three of the survivors of the flag raising posed for him while he sculpted their faces in clay. The other two flag raisers were unfortunately killed in Iwo Jima.
Once the plaster statue was complete, it went to Brooklyn where artisans casted the pieces in bronze and cleaned them. After 3 years of being casted, the statue was reassembled and trucked to Washington DC to be bolted and welded together.
After being treated with preservatives, the statue was dedicated by then President Dwight D. Eisenhower on November 10, 1954, which was the 179th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps.
The figures on the statue are 32 feet high and depict marines raising a 60-foot bronze flagpole on top of a rocky slope above a granite base. The flag flies 24/7/365 by presidential proclamation.
The $850,000 costs for the statue were donated by US Marines, friends of the Marine Corps, and members of the Navy. The granite for the base came from Sweden. It contains the names and dates of every principal Marine Corps engagement since the founding of the Marine Corps in a gold ring. The memorial is free to visit.
The Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial is located at 700 George Washington Memorial Parkway, McLean, VA 22101. Phone: (703) 289-2500.
My son was super excited about this letterbox finding. While we had found many before, he felt like a super sleuth hunting this one out without being detected by other visitors.
The letterbox memory makes this stop one of the most memorable sentimental for me. I think it meant a lot to my son as well.
If you’re into letterboxing, try and find this one. I won’t tell you where it is exactly, but my picture may shine a light on its secret location.
I highly recommend this stop, as well. The grounds are quiet and serene, it’s a great place to sit and reflect.
Have you been there? I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Did you find the letterbox?
Please drop a few lines in the comments box below and let me know how your visit went.
In the meantime, safe travels!
P.S. If you happen to use travel journals, be sure to check out the travel journal I created for my future Washington DC Road Trips.
Written by Kris M.
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