Iwo Jima Memorial

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As a young adult in today’s society, I am constantly surrounded and influenced by images in the media. Whether a photograph, a film, a news segment on T.V., or something on the internet, visual images are becoming an increasingly powerful influence. During a time of war and destruction, America is constantly shown images of soldiers fighting, innocent citizens dying, and terror among those who want peace. Throughout history this has been the case with each war. However, it’s the images shown after war that I find most moving. The image of the five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising an American flag above the rubble of the Battle of Iwo Jima is one of the most powerful images I’ve seen. Iwo Jima was a battle that was fought from February 19, 1945 until March 26, 1945. America was attempting to capture the island from Japanese forces due to its two air bases and its close vicinity to the main lands of Japan. Japan was heavily armed but the American soldiers had a widespread navy fleet and a strong ground team and won the battle. When the fight had ended an estimated 22,000 of Japan’s soldiers had died along with 7,000 American soldiers. The dust had cleared and standing among the ruins were these American soldiers, proudly raising the flag of their country. This image of Iwo Jima, shot by Joe Rosenthal, not only shows the bravery and hard work of these soldiers through its use of emotional appeals, motifs, and composition, but also the destruction caused by war.

The soldiers that are shown in the photograph range from the ages of seventeen to nineteen. They were young men with bright futures ahead of them who gave it all up to fight for a country that they loved. This one photograph brings forth so many emotions that it is hard to just describe one. I cannot help but be overcome with sadness trying to imagine what these men had seen or done during the war. They most likely saw men, maybe even some from their platoon, die in the chaos of battle. Men who stood by...
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