Iwo Jima Survivors Memorial Park
Though in today's confusing struggles it may be considered rude to raise an American flag over territory gained in battle, it wasn't always so. On February 23, 1945, on a Pacific island held by the Japanese, US Marines died to secure a nasty volcanic polyp known as Mt. Suribachi. The photograph recording the second (minutes later) flag raising became inspiration for the famous sculpture that stands in Washington DC.
So is the version standing in New Britain, Connecticut a replica of a monument that is based on a photograph that was a replica of a repeated actual event? Almost....
Dedicated on February 23, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the original flag raising, the Iwo Jima Survivors Memorial Park salutes the 6,821 Americans who died fighting on the last strategic stronghold before the planned invasion of Japan.
New Britain's Iwo Jima sculpture bears an uncanny resemblance to the one in DC, but was created based on the original photograph of the second flag raising, not the DC statue. And there are other touches to link the memorial more directly to Iwo Jima.
The cluster of bronze soldiers stand on rocks taken from the mountain summit, and sand from the landing beach is mixed into the concrete base. The flag flying above is a "historically correct" 48-star version, though plenty of regulation 50s line the pathways.
The memorial was conceived and designed by Dr. George Gentile, founder and president of the Iwo Jima Survivors Association, Inc.
The park features an eternal flame sponsored by Connecticut Natural Gas, proudly and prominently engraved onto its black marble pedestal.
Also in the little park is a paisley-shaped rock vaguely resembling Iwo Jima, unearthed by a bulldozer during construction. Dr. George Gentile, recognizing the contours of the bloody beachhead, ordered that it be placed at the park entrance with a map of the island engraved on it.