When we think of things that are iconically American, images of them flash into mind. Some may see a shuttle launching from Cape Canaveral surrounded by a cheering throng, or some may see a bottle of Coca-Cola, and for many, the first image that comes to mind is the American flag, ‘Old Glory,’ or ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ as it is affectionately known.
With America’s dominance in the 20th Century as the world’s leading super power both in terms of military might and economical size, it’s fair to say that the flag is one of the most recognizable items the world over. If you were to ask many Americans how they envision their flag, some may tell you it’s the image of one on the front porch of their parents’ house, or buzzing wildly as part of the presidential motorcade, and more many, without question it’s the image captured by Joe Rosenthal, of six American soldiers raising the flag on Mount Suribachi in the Battle Of Iwo Jima – one of the most important, fiercest, and bloodiest battles of the Second World War.
That image is now 70 years old and as relevant today as it ever was, and as recognizable. The year it was published, it won the Pulizer Prize which makes it the only image ever to have done that in the same year of its release. And to honor it, the man who took it, and the men featured in it and those it represents, the Associated Press has created and released a short film narrated by Rosenthal himself, as he recalls the story of how the image came to be.
Rosenthal recalls how it was actually the second flag to be raised in that spot, given that a General thought the first was too small, and gives insight into one of the most iconic images ever made. It’s an image that has helped inspire a generation to serve their country.