The National Iwo Jima Monument is a living memorial erected by the Iwo Jima Survivors Association in 1995. Dedicated to the 6,821 US servicemen that gave their lives on Iwo Jima, the sculpture depicts the five marines and one navy corpsman that raised the flag on Mount Suribachi, February 23, 1945. Joe Rosenthal documented the second flag raising in a series of photographs. These images and likely the Marines Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia (Felix De Weldon, 1954), provided sculptor Joseph Petrovics with the imagery to sculpt the six bronze figures.
The servicemen seen in Rosenthal’s most famous image during the second flag raising are Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon Block, Private First Class Rene Gagnon, Private First Class Ira Hayes, Private First Class Franklin Sousley, and Pharmacist Mate Second Class John Bradley. The 36 day battle lasted from April 19 – March 25, 1945 and resulted in the US servicemen loss of 6,821 lives and over 26,000 casualties.
Igneous and volcanic stones were brought from the island of Iwo Jima and arranged below the feet of the servicemen, above the black, polished granite honor rolls, quotes, map and imagery that comprise the 8’ high base. An eternal flame burns to the proper right of the monument and two black granite tablets dedicated to the combat Medical Corps’ medical personnel and clergy are to the proper left.
The monument is located adjacent to CT Route 9, a major highway connecting I-91 and I-84. The close proximity of the highway results in high levels of exposure to atmospheric pollutants and particulates. The bronze figures suffered from active corrosion due to failure of the protective coating. The polished granite had significant deposits causing “cloudiness”, obscuring text and imagery. The igneous and volcanic rocks had biological growth and general soling. The rocks were freely placed on the top of the monument; the client requested they be secured for safety of the objects and public.