National Iwo Jima Memorial

The National Iwo Jima Memorial Monument
Kelly Nigro / Getty Images

Did you know that Connecticut's Hartford County is home to the National Iwo Jima Memorial Monument? It's located on the New Britain - Newington, Connecticut, town line. We drive past it on Route 9 all the time and see the monument's 48-star flag waving and the eternal flame burning round the clock. But it took years before we hopped off Route 9 at Exit 29 (Ella Grasso Boulevard) for a close-up view of this impressive tribute to the Americans who died on the island of Iwo Jima during the opening of the campaign against the Japanese in World War II.

National Iwo Jima Memorial in CT

The monument takes its inspiration from the famous, historic photograph by Joe Rosenthal of the raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on February 23, 1945. Sculpted by Joseph Petrovics, the Iwo Jima Memorial was dedicated on the 50th anniversary of that historic flag-raising, February 23, 1995. On Veteran's Day in 1996, this Connecticut landmark was officially designated as the National Iwo Jima Memorial Monument.

The monument was conceived and designed by Dr. George Gentile, the founder of the Iwo Jima Survivors Association, Inc. The Newington-based Association's members raised the funds that made the construction of this monument to their fallen compatriots possible.

While the six Marines who raised the flag over Iwo Jima--Harlon Block, John H. Bradley, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley and Mike Strank--are forever immortalized in the bronze statue that tops the memorial, the monument is dedicated to all of the 6,821 Americans who died at Iwo Jima. The eternal flame burns 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, as a reminder of the sacrifices made by all those who defended freedom during the Second World War.

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