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(VIDEO) American Troops Land On The Shores Of Iwo Jima & Raise The American Flag

February 23, 2017

This day in history, February 23, 1945, U.S. Marines and Navy Corpsman raised the American flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Incredible color footage shows scenes from the Battle of Iwo Jima and the flag raising.

Four days prior, 30,000 Marines landed on the beaches of Iwo Jima to fight the well-prepared Japanese forces. Japanese defenses were originally weakened by heavy aerial and naval bombardments in the three days leading up to the landings.

Despite taking heavy mortar fire and dealing with well-prepared defenses, 30,000 Marines led by General Holland Smith managed to establish a solid beachhead.

After fighting fierce Japanese forces who were fighting underground and using artillery, on February 23, the crest of 550-foot Mount Suribachi was taken. By March 3, all three airfields on the island were under the control of the United States and by March 26, Japanese forces on the island were wiped out. More than 6,000 Americans died in the bloody battle and 17,000 were wounded.

Joe Rosenthal, a photographer with the Associated Press, recorded the raising of the second American flag along with a Marine still photographer and a motion-picture cameraman. One of the images captured five Marines and one Navy corpsman struggling to hoist the heavy flag pole carrying the American flag.

That iconic photograph has become the most reproduced photograph in history and it helped him win the Pulitzer Prize.