George Washington Memorial Parkway | U. S. MARINE CORPS MEMORIAL

Marine Corps Memorial (photo by Harshil Shah)

Marine Corps Memorial (photo by Harshil Shah)

The U. S. Marine Corps Memorial, better known as the Iwo Jima Monument, is located just north of Arlington Cemetery. A road circles the monument and there is limited parking, certainly not enough to accommodate all of the visitors. An alternative is to take the metro to either the Arlington Cemetery or Rosslyn Metro station. I made the .75-mile walk from the cemetery, which takes 15-20 minutes. Ask any of the guards or cemetery personnel for directions. You can also stop by the Netherlands Carillon on your way. Both it and the Marine Corps Memorial are managed by the National Park Service as sub units of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

U. S. Marine Corps Memorial

U. S. Marine Corps Memorial

The memorial grounds are open daily from 6 AM to midnight.

On Tuesdays from early June through early August, the Marine Corps holds a sunset parade from 7 to 8 PM (6:30-7:30 PM in August). The public is welcome, but there is no parking at the memorial beginning at 2:30 PM except for six handicap spots. For an up-to-date schedule and additional information, visit the Marine Corps’ Sunset Parade web page.

Sunset Parade (photo by Victoria Pickering)

Sunset Parade (photo by Victoria Pickering)

The U. S. Marine Corps Memorial is based on a famous photograph of Marines raising a flag at Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. The memorial honors all members of the Marine Corps who died in battle since its inception in 1775. President Eisenhower dedicated the memorial on November 10, 1954.

U. S. Marine Corps Memorial

U. S. Marine Corps Memorial

The statue was created by Felix W. de Weldon. Three of the actual men who raised the flag in the photo posed for him. The other men were later killed during the fighting, but their photos were used for the sculpture. In the actual Iwo Jim flag raising photo, none of the men’s faces can be seen, so the three dimensional sculpture shows the public the faces that would otherwise be unknown. When viewing the sculpture with the men’s backs to you, you are seeing what is depicted in the photo.

U. S. Marine Corps Memorial

U. S. Marine Corps Memorial

The flag on the memorial flies 24 hours a day year-round per a presidential proclamation. The only other U. S. flags that fly non-stop are those at Fort McHenry, Flag House Square in Baltimore, the White House, the Washington Monument, all U. S. Customs ports of entry, and the National Memorial Arch at Valley Forge State Park.

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Last updated on April 7, 2020
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