The Marine Corps War Memorial can be found just outside Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. Also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, this statue was erected to memorialize all Marines who gave their life in the line of duty since the US Marine Corps was founded in 1775. The statue is taken from the infamous photo taken by Joe Rosenthal during the actual flag raising on Iwo Jima. This statue depicts the second raising of the second over Iwo Jima.
Work on this memorial began in 1951, with the final unveiling in November of 1954 correlating with the 179th anniversary of the US Marine Corps. The bronze figures on this granite based statue are 32 feet tall. They bear a flag pole that is 60 feet long. At the end of the pole is an actual US flag, one of the few flags that is required to fly 24 hours a day.
One inscription at the base of the memorial honors the memory of the all men of the US Marine Corps who made the ultimate sacrifice – their lives – for their country. The second inscription is a quote by Admiral Chester Nimitz that gave tribute to the men who fought on Iwo Jima:
“Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue”
Several full-sized statues and a number of smaller replicas can be found throughout the country.
The US Marine Corps initially evolved from two battalions formed in November of 1775 as naval infantry. Since then, they have taken part in every armed conflict that the United States has been involved in, gaining notoriety for their amphibious warfare practices during WWII in the Pacific Theater.
As recent as 2010, the Marine Corps has over 240,000 Marines on both active and reserve duty.