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Iwo Jima at 70: The Most Reproduced and Parodied Photo in History?

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Photographer Joe Rosenthal admitted that when he took a shot of five Marines and one Navy corpsman raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima’s Mt. Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945, he had no idea that he had captured something extraordinary. He was setting up for a different shot when he spotted the group of men planting the flag and quickly took a snap without even looking through the viewfinder. The chance photo would become iconic overnight and go on to win the Pulitzer Prize.

“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” is often cited as being the most reproduced photograph in history. It is also probably the most parodied image in the world. The “Iwo Jima pose” has become a popular symbol for organizations or movements wishing to convey victory, teamwork, or patriotism. The use of the image has ranged from respectful homage to what some consider offensive misappropriation.

Art and Sculpture

Lego sculpture by brick artist Nathan Sawaya

Lego sculpture by brick artist Nathan Sawaya

Lego tableau by <a href=

Carved in ice by Ice Art, Inc

Carved in ice by Ice Art, Inc

Mask of New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro

Mask of New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro

Alstede Farms corn maze, Chester, New Jersey

Alstede Farms corn maze, Chester, New Jersey

Sand sculpture by artist J.W. Gruber

Sand sculpture by artist J.W. Gruber

Illustration by the “etchasketchist”

Illustration by the “etchasketchist”

Sculpted out of butter in the Camp Fallujah chow hall, Iraq

Sculpted out of butter in the Camp Fallujah chow hall, Iraq

Cake made from crispy rice and chocolate at Cake Cental

Cake made from crispy rice and chocolate at Cake Central

Tattoo inspired by the photograph

Tattoo inspired by the photograph

Removable tattoos for those who only want to temporarily display their patriotism

Removable tattoos for those who only want to temporarily display their patriotism

Jack O’Lantern

Jack O’Lantern

Ol’ Glory beer successfully appealed to federal regulator to allow the “Pledge of Allegiance” to be printed on every can

Ol’ Glory beer successfully appealed to federal regulator to allow the “Pledge of Allegiance” to be printed on every can

Portable War Museum by artist Edward Kienholz

Portable War Museum by artist Edward Kienholz

Stamps and Currency

United States 1945

United States 1945

United States 1995

United States 1995

Grenada 1970

Grenada 1970

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank initially denied that the 1000 Rupee note circulated in 2009 was modeled after the Rosenthal photograph, but later confessed that the image was indeed the inspiration.

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank initially denied that the 1000 Rupee note circulated in 2009 was modeled after the Rosenthal photograph, but later confessed that the image was indeed the inspiration.

Marine Corps 230th Anniversary Silver Dollar - 2005

Marine Corps 230th Anniversary Silver Dollar – 2005

Opened in 2006, The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, VA, was designed to evoke the raising of the flag.

Opened in 2006, The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, VA, was designed to evoke the raising of the flag.

Album Covers

Bands striking the Iwo Jima pose has become cliché.

Anti-Flag – A New Kind of Army, 1999

Anti-Flag – A New Kind of Army, 1999

Uriah Heep – Conquest, 1980

Uriah Heep – Conquest, 1980

Funkadelic – One Nation Under a Groove, 1978

Funkadelic – One Nation Under a Groove, 1978

Savatage – Fight for the Rock, 1986

Savatage – Fight for the Rock, 1986

Rev Theory – Justice, 2011

Rev Theory – Justice, 2011

Canned Heat – Future Blues, 1970

Canned Heat – Future Blues, 1970

Magazines, Comics and Book Covers

The 2008 Time magazine issue on global warming caused a furor when Iwo Jima veterans objected to the alteration of the original photo, calling it “an absolute disgrace”

The 2008 Time magazine issue on global warming caused a furor when Iwo Jima veterans objected to the alteration of the original photo, calling it “an absolute disgrace”

2000 AD comic, 1999

2000 AD comic, 1999

The short-lived Cosmos Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, 1953

The short-lived Cosmos Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, 1953

America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney, 2002

America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney, 2002

Speed Comics, 1945

Speed Comics, 1945

Jock magazine, 1969

Jock magazine, 1969

Blackhawk comic, 1983

Blackhawk comic, 1983

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, 2003

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, 2003

Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein, 2007

Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein, 2007

11 Freunde magazine from Germany, 2006

11 Freunde magazine from Germany, 2006

Activism

British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association

British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association

Published in 1971, The New Soldier by John Kerry documented the efforts of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War

Published in 1971, The New Soldier by John Kerry documented the efforts of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War

Washington, D.C. Anarchists

Washington, D.C. Anarchists

Energy Action

Surfrider Foundation

Surfrider Foundation

Protest against Japan’s toxic waste trade policies in the Philippines

Protest against Japan’s toxic waste trade policies in the Philippines

Editorial Cartoons

Among other commentary, the Iwo Jima pose is regularly used to satirize U.S. foreign policy

NewIwoJima

Iwo Jima oil

iwo-screw

Flag

Clay Bennett CSM

cartoon

Advertisements

Respol YPF

Respol YPF

Grace Elder Care

Grace Elder Care

Australian Tourism

Australian Tourism

The Official British Army Fitness Program

The Official British Army Fitness Program

Pop Culture

Newsweek promotional photo for The Jersey Shore

Newsweek promotional photo for The Jersey Shore

iwo-jima simpsons boy band

homer-flag-looking

Simpsons Large Marge

Simpsons Rosebud

Simpsons Half Decent Proposal

ndicative of its relevance as a cultural touchstone, the Iwo Jima pose has been referenced on The Simpsons at least six times – “New Kid on the Blecch,” “Selma’s Choice,” “LargeMarge,” “Rosebud,” “Half Decent Proposal,” and “Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington.”

Indicative of its relevance as a cultural touchstone, the Iwo Jima pose has been referenced on The Simpsons at least six times – “New Kid on the Blecch,” “Selma’s Choice,” “LargeMarge,” “Rosebud,” “Half Decent Proposal,” and “Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington.”

Dr. Who – “Victory of the Daleks” 2010

Dr. Who – “Victory of the Daleks” 2010

Chuck – “Chuck Versus the Beard” 2010

Chuck – “Chuck Versus the Beard” 2010

Hard Rock Café pin

Hard Rock Café pin

iwojimaBanksy

Work of the graffiti artist Banksy

Work of the graffiti artist Banksy

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  • disqus_xIdL3YzMYs

    Oh oh, Under Armour in big trouble over a tee shirt!!

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  • Tom

    Most of these ARE patriotic, and referring to the American flag, and the other ones ARE being disrespectful. This article further proves the offensiveness of the ‘raising of the Pride flag’.

    • Terry

      The LGBT community has been in a battle and many people have died as a result of bigotry. The spirit is there but the outrage is false

      • Carolyn

        Way to make everything about you. smh.

        • Terry

          it was about us since KKkristians kept on making it about REFUSING TO RECOGNIZE OUR LEGAL RIGHTS

          • Sunshine Amato

            Calm down be happy now you won congrats, doesn’t and no fuck all these flags that arn’t showing patriotism and are a knock off to support a cause or advertisement. Yea you guys may have fought but you really didn’t you campaigned and rallied for it. These men that died that day saw what was going to kill them but still kept going to keep the boys back home free and their brothers to their left and their right safe. These men lived threw a depression just to go to one of the most brutal wars and now the gay community or whatever name it is because i dont care im completely for homosexuals but you guys (along with everyone else who has) sit here and troll they photo of about the 20 of them that survived out of the 3000 that went there.

          • Terry

            THROUGH a Depression

            Sunshine, learn to spell.

            Just because the battlefield of LGBT rights isn’t littered with bodies doesn’t mean we haven’t had casualties, a lot of people have fought in this war for rights…and it continues. Same with Civil Rights and Voting Rights…this celebrates a long, hard fought victory that we had to TAKE!

          • Tom

            If you’re going to refer to modern Christians with the letters “KKK” then it’s apparent having an intelligent and fruitful conversation with you is impossible.

          • Terry

            Well then tell those to the KKKristians that think they speak for you. That’s the harder road, so you’ll insult me first…while letting them idiots speak for you

          • Tom

            What I said is no insult. It’s true that if your view of modern Christians is so radical that you don’t draw a distinction between them and the KKK -who joined together to murder african americans- then our conversation can’t hope for any objectivity. If we can’t empathize, we’ll just bicker.

          • Terry

            They said it was their “Christian duty” to lynch black men

            There hardly is a difference between them and ISIS

          • Kyle Dobbs

            Talk to your friends the Democrats, they’re the ones who brought you the KKK during the middle of the slavery era–more than 3/4 of the KKK are Liberals who hate you.

          • Terry

            First they were Conservatives not liberals. Republicans were the liberals, stop trying to fool me by mixing history with what the Democratic Party stands for now

          • Kyle Dobbs

            Terry, you need to do your home work. The KKK were hate groups that reinforced slavery. They not only reinforced slavery, through the night, they’d go beyond their boundaries and bring back freed slaves to have them put back in their places.

          • Terry

            Yeah they were conservatives. I got an A in history and I don’t fall for revisionist history

          • Kyle Dobbs

            You misinterpreted what I said, I was referring to being taken back to their owners. Tell me, what specifically did you get this A in? I’m just curious.

          • Terry

            “Back in their places” aka inferior to white people…

          • PythonGuy

            Your argument sounds more emotional than factual/logical.

          • Terry

            Again, tell that to the ones who want to force religion on us…it’s not my fault they’re just like the KKK…well Tony Perkins DID speak at a KKK event…

          • PythonGuy

            No one is forcing anything on you. If the Christian message offends you, you can walk away, a luxury Christians DON’T have when it comes to the homosexual message. If you’re offended, you all can cry, whine and sue people, yet if the homosexual movement offends us, we just have to tolerate it because, well, lawsuits. Sounds like some sound equality to me.

            I thought liberals were about education, tolerance and open-mindedness yet they always seem to find the most intolerant, uneducated and narrow-minded arguments when it comes to defining Christians and Christianity. How ironic.

          • Terry

            The Christian message doesn’t offend me, people legislating their version of morality because it’s their eligion aka religious fanaticism is what I stand against

            And “you can walk away, a luxury Christians DON’T have when it comes to the homosexual message” you don’t have to get gay married…but if you’re offended by seeing a rainbow flag, or the mere thought of gay people existing or us holding hands in public then it goes deeper than the supposed homosexual message

            We are people who love and out love should be legal nationwide, and celebrated with the ones we love

          • Terry

            When conservatives sue, it’s patriotic
            When liberals sue, it’s intolerance

            Foolery!!!

          • Tom

            “When conservatives sue, it’s patriotic.” Do you have an example?

          • PythonGuy

            Amen. Christians are persecuted daily in the US by homosexuals and the homosexual agenda. There are plenty of gay bigots out there.

      • Tom

        Hundreds and thousands of Christians have been persecuted and killed because they were christian, and yet it would still be disrespectful to replace this flag with a reference to them. You see it’s not about anyone’s pride, any replacement of the US flag with another would upset citizens who really understand the significance of the sacrifices of these men. Gay rights is a fight for freedom of behavior; these soldiers fought for freedom from shackles and protection from genocide. One musn’t be anti-gay to appose the replacing of the american flag in this historical symbol, only to understand the immense reverence those soldiers earned.

        • Frederick Remus

          freedom of behavior?
          gay men and lesbians have fought to be free from the shackles of bigotry and discrimination. to be free of the genocide from militant heterosexuals who have been beating and murdering us since the beginning of time. they fought with their voices and many with their lives, just so we could all be free to live.
          there is zero disrespect here, none.

          • Tom

            I’m not saying homosexuals haven’t sacrificed. They certainly have. Over the years many have been murdered and worse. We’re comparing campaigning to throwing one’s self in front of bullets though. I’ve must point out that those who understand what those soldiers went through -and were forced to do- know there’s no comparison.

          • Jeff King

            Thousands of gays have died on the battlefield. They just weren’t allowed to talk about it.

        • TreGibbs

          Being Christian is a choice. Being gay is NOT a choice OR a behavior.

          • Tom

            The ability to marry is also a choice. Homosexuals haven’t been fighting for the ability to be homosexual, but the ability to express it without persecution.

          • TreGibbs

            True.

        • Terry

          Name one of those things where gay people killed Christians all over this nation coordinated attacks? I doubt you’ll find any

        • ablabmsz

          Tom, your Christian persecution complex is misguided. Do Christian teens commit suicide at five times the rate of non-Christian teens, which is the statistic for gay teens? No. The enormous statistical difference should force you to see something else is going on.

          As for “freedom of behavior”, why are gay teens killing themselves when most have yet to engage in any? I submit it’s because of attitudes like yours and if I engaged in sloppy reasoning on par with yours would charge you with murder for their suicides.

          • Tom

            Christians and Gays have both sacrificed awe-inspiring things and undergone immense persecution for their struggles for freedom of expression. That was the point. I didn’t say they were exactly the same and I didn’t mean it.

    • Htowndude

      What about gay marines? Just who should be offended by different depictions?

    • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

      You’ve not read Monstrous Regiment, have you?

    • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

      I’d say that any iconic image will be referenced in many ways. Art quotes other art. It always has, and always will.

      I’m not American, and my attitude to their military is ambivalent at best. I’m far from convinced that they make the world a better place. But I can recognise an iconic image when I see one.

      TRiG.

  • Andrew Caporale

    My Ex is both gay and a marine. When I saw this, I immediately thought to text him tl see what his response was. He told me that he didn’t give a fuck. He said that it looked like an homage to the original photo, whist clearly stating that the blood of gay men has been spilled in our country. He said that this photo doesn’t bother him in the slightest, because he’s fought both of the types of wars that are depicted in each of those photos. Of course this is a statement from a single marine; take it for what it is.

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