Now that the Iraq war has lasted longer than the U.S. role in World War II, it seems an appropriate time to pause and reflect on the death of a man who provided one of the great icons of that earlier conflict.
Joe Rosenthal, the AP photographer who captured the classic moment when five Marines and a seaman raised the American flag over Iwo Jima, died on Sunday at 94.
New York Times:
He had been rejected for military service because of abysmally poor eyesight, but in one-four-hundredths of a second ? the shutter timing on his Speed Graphic camera ? Joe Rosenthal took the most famous photograph of the Second World War.
His photograph of the flag-raising atop Mount Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945, may be the most widely reproduced photo in American history. It was re-created on at least 3.5 million Treasury Department posters publicizing a massive war-bond campaign. It was engraved on three-cent Marine Corps commemorative stamps that broke Post Office records for first-day cancellations in 1945. It was reproduced as a 100-ton Marine Corps War Memorial bronze sculpture near Arlington National Cemetery. And it brought Mr. Rosenthal a Pulitzer Prize.
But almost from the day the photograph was emblazoned on the front pages of Sunday newspapers as a symbol of embattled patriotism, Mr. Rosenthal faced suspicions that he staged the shot, posing the Marines. He always insisted that he recorded a genuine event, and others on the scene corroborated his account.