View Full Version : The Marine Corps War Memorial

02-29-04, 10:10 AM
"To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know!"


The Marine Corps War Memorial stands as a symbol of a grateful nation's esteem for the honored dead of the United States Marine Corps. Although the statue depicts one of the most famous incidents of World War II, the Memorial is dedicated to ALL Marines who have given their lives in the defense of the United States since 1775. (Alvin's note: The last sentence is the reason I have chosen this background which shows a Colonial Marine alongside a modern-day Marine with our beloved emblem between them!) Shortly after Associated Press newsphotographer Joe Rosenthal's inspiring action picture of the Marines raising the second flag on Mount Suribachi was released, Sculptor Felix W. de Weldon, then on duty with the Navy, constructed a scale model and then a life-size model inspired by the scene.

The three survivors of the flag raising, Corporal Ira Hamilton Hayes, Corporal Rene Arthur Gagnon and Pharmacist's Mate Second Class John Henry Bradley, USN, posed for Mr. de Weldon, who modeled their faces in clay. All available pictures and physical statistics of the three Marines who gave their lives, Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon Henry Block and Private First Class Franklin Runyon Sousley, were assembled and used in the modeling of their faces. The figures were originally molded in the nude so that the strain of muscles would be prominently shown after clothing was modeled on the struggling figures.

Steel framework, roughly duplicating the bone structure of the human body, was assembled to support the hugh figures under construction.

Once the statue was completed in plaster it was carefully disassembled into 108 pieces and trucked to the Bedi-Rassy Art Foundry, Brooklyn, New York for casting in bronze. The casting process, which required the work of experienced artisans, took nearly three years.

After the parts were cast, cleaned, finished and chased, they were reassembled into approximately a dozen pieces and brought back to Washington by a three-truck convoy. Erection of the Memorial on the edge of Arlington National Cemetery near the Virginia approaches to Memorial Bridge was begun in September of 1954. It was officially dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on November 10, 1954. Present for the dedication were Vice-President Richard M. Nixon, Marine Corps Commandant General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. and the three surviving flag-raisers, Ira H. Hayes, Rene A. Gagnon and John H. Bradley.

Memorial Statistics

The Memorial is of heroic dimensions. Weighing 100 tons, it stands 78 feet tall counting the base. The six figures in battle fatigues and helmets on the statue are 32 feet high; they are erecting a bronze flagpole 60 feet in length. The figures are placed on a rock slope rising approximately 6 feet from a 10 foot base. The flag on the pole is a real one, 10 x19-1/2 feet and it flies twenty-four hours a day by presidential decree.
The M-1 rifle carried by one of the figures is approximately 16 feet long, the carbines are 12 feet long. The canteen, if filled, would hold 32 quarts of water.
The figures of the statue are standing on rough Swedish granite. The concrete face of the statue is covered with block of polished Swedish black granite. Burnished into the granite, in gold lettering, are the names and dates of principal Marine Corps engagements since the Corps was founded in 1775. Also inscribed on the base in tribute of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz to the fighting men on Iwo Jima: "Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue." Opposite this, on the base is the inscription: "In honor and in memory of men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since November 10, 1775."

The Site

The memorial site is a seven and one-half acre tract of land bordering the northern end of Arlington National Cemetery and overlooking Washington, D.C., near the western end of Memorial Bridge.

The Cost

The entire cost of the statue and developing the Memorial was $850,000, donated by U.S. Marines, former Marines, Marine Corps Reservists, friends of the Marine Corps and members of the Naval Service. NO PUBLIC FUNDS WERE USED FOR THE MONUMENT!

What this comes down to is that the Marines built their own memorial. However, this somewhat unusual act is simply pure Marine Corps. The Marines have never been shy about calling attention to their record. In the words of a former commandant, General Clifton B. Cates:

"The Marine Corps has no ambition beyond the performance of its duty to its country. Its sole honor stems from that recognition which cannot be denied to a Corps of men who have sought a life for themselves little more than a life of hardship and the most hazardous assignments in battle." For more than four decades, The Marine Corps War Memorial has stood overlooking our nation's capital, joining other Memorials to honor those who have made this nation great.

02-29-04, 12:10 PM
Speaking of this, I recieved a solicitation from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, Quantico Va. It seeks donations to buiild the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Sounds like a good thing to me. More info can be found here:

They did send a big page of peelable address labels, with my addy and a USMC emblem as an incentative, along with 4 larger EGA stickers. About 50 inn all. I have no idea how they got my name & address. I've blacked out my personal info on this scan, but does anyone know what the circled emblem is?
Sorry for the poor quality of the scan.

02-29-04, 12:45 PM
does anyone know what the circled emblem is?

greybeard I believe that it is the original Globe and anchor. Anyone else know?

02-29-04, 02:44 PM
The emblem of Thirteen Stars vaulted over an Eagle holding a Fouled Anchor is the original Marine Corps emblem. It was used before the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor were adopted. It is still found on all visible buttons of full dress uniforms, from Dress Blues to Winter Greens.

02-29-04, 06:07 PM
:marine:A few years ago the US Air Force laid plans to erect a huge USAF Memorial almost aside of the Iwo Jima Monument...they had alotta poltical clout for us to make room for their edifice...it took hundred of thousands $$$ to raise up and make the USAF retreat...the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Marine Division Associations and thousands upon thousands of non/commited Marines to ante up and foil the USAF...we almost lost our terra firma around the Iwo Jima Memorial...you guys never knew about this "war".???...how many even contributed??? The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation attends the 1st Marine Div Assoc reunions and got the word out with alacrity about USAF flap. :marine:

02-29-04, 06:23 PM
I never heard of them till I got the solicitation in the mail yesterday. No never heard about the 'war' either. How many years ago was 'a few'? Was it on the national news? Newspapers? Time? Wall St Journal? 60 miinutes? Paul Harvey? Rush Limbaugh? Guess I'm just un-informed.

02-29-04, 07:05 PM
Yes I know about it.

Has the Memorial Site Been Moved?

Yes, preliminary approval had been given by the US Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission and the Park Service to place an earlier design of the Memorial on a two-acre site of land known as Arlington Ridge. The Memorial was planned to be located approximately 600 feet south of the Iwo Jima Memorial and northeast of the Netherlands Carillon Memorial. However, controversy continued concerning this location, and the Air Force Memorial Foundation Board of Trustees considered it to be in the best interest of the Foundation, the Air Force and all corporate and individual donorís to work with Congress and relocate to another site. The actual decision to relocate was contained in the 2002 Defense Authorization Bill.

Where Will the Memorial Now be Located?

The memorial will now be located at a promontory point of land known as the Naval Annex. The site overlooks the Pentagon from the southwest. It is a prime piece of real estate and is located just off Interstate 395 (a major gateway to DC). This site is not new to the Foundation. Early on, the Foundation considered this location and gave it very high marks. In part, those high marks were due not only to the spectacular view of Washington from this site; but equally important, the prominent view of this site by the public. However, at the time, the Foundation was told that the property would not be available for several years.

What is the Design of the Memorial?

The redesigned Memorial is both BOLD and graceful and truly representational of the Air Force. Central to the design are three stainless steel spires which soar skyward. The highest of the spires will ascent 270' above the 3-acre elevated promontory site. Other key elements of the Memorial include a bronze Honor Guard, inscription walls, and an open glass Chamber of Contemplation, all landscaped to create a memorial park and parade ground overlooking the nationís capital.

They got the word so now lets give them their due.

02-29-04, 07:28 PM
Thanks-now I'm not un-informed.
Is the tail arrow there so the fly boys will know which end is the front?
Or does it mean "move your arse!"?

02-29-04, 07:53 PM

Again the Marines won the battle.

It's a truly a piece of crap that could only be designed by someone that has never been in the service. If you saw it you would never know that it represent any Arm Service Department, if I was retired from the Air Force I for one would turn my back when i passed by it.http://

The air Force says aim high, the Marines aims straight

02-29-04, 07:57 PM
:marine: The United States Air Force came within a hair of infringing on the US Marine Corps War Memorial's presence...it took at least two [2] years to put a .50 cal/stitch up their @ss forever to move off...had they succeeded with our prime location on Arlington Ridge...the Iwo Jima Monument would have been diminished to midget/proportions...there are alotta politicians in the Beltway, that have no use for the USMC...Truman in 1949 almost vaporized the Corps but was shot down faster than a chicken's @ss in a rain storm!!...no, the media never gave the "war on the ridge" any exposure....all the Marines and others, who contributed...saved the Iwo Jima Memorial's loftiness... Semper Fi, Marines..."Always keep one in the chamber, even stateside".:marine: