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It is one of the most iconic photos in American history but it has carried the wrong description all along.
For more than 70 years, one of the men in the picture of military servicemen raising the American flag in Iwo Jima in 1945 was identified as Navy Corpsman John Bradley.
— Smithsonian Channel (@SmithsonianChan) June 23, 2016
After two amateur history buffs, Eric Krelle, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Stephen Foley, of Wexford, Ireland, studied several photos, they were certain the wrong man was identified in the famed photo, the Associated press reported.
The Marines formed a review panel to investigate and, after a three-month investigation, ordered by Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and using modern technology, it was revealed that the man actually was Pfc. 1st Class Harold Schultz.
“Our history is important to us, and we have a responsibility to ensure it’s right,” Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told the AP.
It’s also important for the historical record of books and films. That is why Random House announced that it was working on a new afterward to the book “Flags of Our Fathers,” which was written by Bradley’s son James, and later became a movie directed by Clint Eastwood.
While it is too late to change the movie, the publisher is writing the new afterward to correct the record.
Bradley’s father did raise a flag in Iwo Jima, just not the flag made famous by that historic photo.
“My father raised a flag on Iwo Jima,” Bradley told the AP when reached by phone. “The Marines told him way after the fact, ‘Here’s a picture of you raising the flag.’ He had a memory of him raising a flag, and the two events came together.”
Schultz family was informed of the finding on Thursday, according to the Washington Times.
“Simply stated, our fighting spirit is captured in that frame, and it remains a symbol of the tremendous accomplishments of our Corps — what they did together and what they represent remains most important. That doesn’t change,” Neller told the AP in a statement.
The other men in the photo are Pfc. Franklin Sousley, Cpls. Harlon Block, Rene Gagnon and Ira Haye and Sgt. Michael Strank.
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