FEBRUARY 23, 1945

PIMA IRA HAYES AND BITTERROOT SALISH CHARLES CHARLO RAISE FLAGS ON IWO JIMA

The U.S. flag being raised at Iwo Jima by U.S. Marines is one of the most famous war-images of all time.  However, there were two flag-raisings on Mount Suribachi that day.  American Indians played parts in both.  On the fourth day of battle, a patrol including Pvt. Louis Charles Charlo of the Bitterroot Salish Tribe of Montana reached the summit and returned.  A bit later, a second group, also including Charlo, went to the summit and raised a small U.S. flag.  Pvt. Charlo died three days later rescuing a wounded buddy.  Later in the day, another group replaced the first flag with a larger one.  The photo of this raising quickly became the inspirational image for war-effort fundraising.  Three of the six men pictured died later in the battle; the three survivors—including Pvt. Ira Hayes, a Pima from Arizona—went back to the States and were presented as heroes.  The pressure led Hayes to drink heavily.  He was soon returned to his unit.  Discharged in 1945, he returned to the reservation where drinking led to his death in 1955.  

Sources:  Jack McNeel, “American Indian Marine Was Part of Iwo Jima, But Kept Out of Spotlight,” Indian Country Today, 11/7/2011.  Retrieved 6/9/2019, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/veterans/american-indian-marine-was-part-of-iwo-jima-but-kept-out-of-spotlight/. Fox 13 News Staff, “On this date: American flag raised at Iwo Jima,” Fox 46, 2/23/2016.  Retrieved 6/9/2019, http://www.fox46charlotte.com/news/on-this-date-american-flag-raised-at-iwo-jima
Photo:  Joe Rosenthal (1911-2006), 2/23/1945.  Public Domain.   Copyright, if one existed, was not renewed.  

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