Marines raise flag on Iwo Jima

February 23rd, 1945

On this day in 1945, Cpl. Harlon Block of Weslaco appeared in one of the most indelible images to come out of World War II. For three days the men of Company E, Second Battalion, Twenty-eighth Marines, had fought their way to the top of Mount Suribachi, a 550-foot-high extinct volcano at the southern end of the island of Iwo Jima. They first raised a small flag to signal their victory to their fellows below, and a larger flag later. In Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal's picture of the six men raising this second flag, which won the Pulitzer Prize, the twenty-year-old Block was the stooping figure guiding the base of the flagpole into the volcanic ash. He never saw the famous picture, however, as he was killed in action on March 1 as his unit advanced in the direction of Mishi Ridge. Block was buried in the Fifth Marine Division cemetery at the foot of Mount Suribachi, though his body was taken home to Weslaco in 1949.

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Marines raise flag on Iwo Jima

February 23rd, 1945

On this day in 1945, Cpl. Harlon Block of Weslaco appeared in one of the most indelible images to come out of World War II. For three days the men of Company E, Second Battalion, Twenty-eighth Marines, had fought their way to the top of Mount Suribachi, a 550-foot-high extinct volcano at the southern end of the island of Iwo Jima. They first raised a small flag to signal their victory to their fellows below, and a larger flag later. In Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal's picture of the six men raising this second flag, which won the Pulitzer Prize, the twenty-year-old Block was the stooping figure guiding the base of the flagpole into the volcanic ash. He never saw the famous picture, however, as he was killed in action on March 1 as his unit advanced in the direction of Mishi Ridge. Block was buried in the Fifth Marine Division cemetery at the foot of Mount Suribachi, though his body was taken home to Weslaco in 1949.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
Get your Texas Day by Day delivered straight to your inbox: