Overlooking the Potomac River at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, this statue of Marines raising the American flag on Japanese soil after the Battle of Iwo Jima is dedicated to the military service of U.S. Marines since 1775. Sculpted by American artist Felix de Weldon, the 32-foot soldiers and 60-foot flagpole comprise the largest bronze memorial in the world, while the Stars and Stripes here are made of real cloth. In accordance with a 1961 proclamation made by President John F. Kennedy, the statue’s flag flies 24 hours a day.
The scene depicted by this memorial is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph called Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, taken by D.C. native Joe Rosenthal in 1945. Five of the six soldiers in the scene were Marines (one was part of the Navy Corps), and three died in this famous last battle of World War II.
At the memorial site, the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps presents the Marine Sunset Review Parade on Tuesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m., generally the first Tuesday in June through mid-August. Wearing red-and-white dress uniforms, the corps perform a variety of military standards and vintage tunes from wartime eras.
Public off-site parking is available just outside Arlington National
Cemetery, and free shuttle service is provided. Or, the Memorial is
about a 10-minute walk from the Metrorail’s stations for Rosslyn
(serving the Orange and Blue Lines) and Arlington National Cemetery
(serving the Blue Line). On parade evenings, only limited street parking
is available, and taking the subway is highly recommended.