The Marine Corps War Memorial is a military memorial statue located near the Arlington National Cemetery and the Netherlands Carillon in Rosslyn, Virginia, United States. The memorial is dedicated to all personnel of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) who have died in the defense of their country since 1775. Its design was based on the iconic photo of the raising of the Flag on Iwo Jima by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.
The memorial features the following Marines and Sailor who raised the second flag over Iwo Jima: Sgt.Michael Strank, USMC; Cpl. Harlon Block, USMC; PFC. Franklin Sousley, USMC; PFC. Rene Gagnon, USMC; PFC. Ira Hayes, USMC; and PhM. 2/c John Bradley, USN.
The location and date of every major Marine Corps engagement up to the present is inscribed around the base of the memorial.
The memorial was officially dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on November 10, 1954, the 179th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps.
There are twelve hands in the memorial corresponding to the six figures depicted. A persistent rumor has attributed the existence of a thirteenth hand to the sculptor's wish to symbolize either all the other Marines who made the flag raising possible, or the hand of God. When informed of the rumor, the original sculptor, Felix de Weldon, exclaimed, "Thirteen hands. Who needed 13 hands? Twelve were enough.