It's time we honor the man who honored America.

"I took the picture, but the Marines
took Iwo Jima."

​                                 Joe Rosenthal

February 23, 1945 found United States Marines, Navy Corpsmen and fire direction teams on Iwo Jima in a fight to the death with its Japanese defenders. Since landing four days earlier, Americans were dying in terrible numbers. In the first days of the battle, a Marine or Corpsman was killed or wounded every 30 seconds.

     Thirty-three-year-old Associated Press photographer, Joe Rosenthal, joined Marines to the top of Mt. Suribachi, the highest point on the island. The Marines were there to replace the American flag with a larger one, one big enough to be seen across the island. The Marines carried their rifles to the summit, the diminutive Rosenthal carried only his cameras.

     As Marines fought and died below, Joe Rosenthal and the Marine patrol met their fate on the summit; the Marines raising our flag, and Joe Rosenthal photographing it. In a single moment, Joe's photo "captured the soul of a nation," one photography magazine wrote. Across the island, men looked up to see their flag flying; battleships and cruisers offshore paused their bombardment and sounded their horns for a solid five minutes. Two days later, the photo ran on the front page of Sunday newspapers across America. Joe Rosenthal won the Pulitzer Prize.

     Although Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima became arguably    the most reproduced photograph in history, Joe Rosenthal,     remained modest about it, famously saying, “I took the picture, but the Marines took Iwo Jima.” 

     The powerful photo of indomitable Americans lifted public spirit in a war-weary America. The photo became the centerpiece of the 1945 Seventh War Bond drive, raising $26 billion for the wartime Treasury. Along with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, the flag raising photo is now a symbol of the United States Marine Corps.

     Public and Congressional demand soon landed Joe’s photo on a first-class stamp, selling 137 million stamps, a record number. The Department of the Navy awarded Rosenthal the Distinguished Public Service Award. He was named an Honorary Marine, the honor he placed above all others.

    After the war, Joe Rosenthal photographed for the San Francisco Chronicle for 35 years and was a member of the USMC Combat Correspondents Association chapter that now bears his name. Joe remained a patriotic American until his death in 2006.

     Now, after 72 years, the American boys who fought on Iwo Jima are in their 90s, and older. And Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima still resonates with America’s strength and resolve. The photo is recognized around the world as a symbol of the United States Marine Corps.


The bronze plaque at the National Museum of the Marine Corps depicts Joe Rosenthal looking over the Iwo Jima flag raising scene.
     Naming a warship for Joe Rosenthal takes two steps: our nomination to the United States Secretary of the Navy, and a grassroots email, letter writing, and petition signing campaign to show the Secretary you, and many other patriotic Americans recognize Joe’s contribution to our nation.

     We need your help!  Your support will help persuade the Navy Secretary to name a Navy warship for Joe Rosenthal. 

     Sign the petition on the next page! Share it online, then ask your friends and family to sign. 

     You will take pleasure and pride in honoring Joe for his skill and his courage photographing in the midst of battle, armed only with his wits and photographer's instincts. Help nominate the Joe Rosenthal as an appropriate ship name, recognizing Joe’s historic and ongoing contribution to our nation.

    You will also help keep front-and-center the sacrifices of our WWII veterans and all those who have served after them.