The amphibious landings of Marines, after severe and relentless bombing of the island, began the morning of February 19, 1945, as the secretary of the navy, James Forrestal, accompanied by journalists, surveyed the scene from a command ship offshore. As the Marines made their way onto the island, seven Japanese battalions opened fire on the 9,000 Marines headed for them. By that evening, more than 550 Marines were dead and more than 1,800 were wounded.
Although the famous photograph has long led people to believe that the flag-raising was a turning point in the fight for Iwo Jima, vicious fighting to control the island actually continued for 31 more days. Let’s not forget that there were African Americans in Iwo Jima.