Just days after Japan renamed Iwo Jima, word comes that the last surviving
U.S. Marine who helped raise the first flag on Mount Suribachi - not the flag in
the famous re-enactment - has died.
Charles W. Lindberg passed away yesterday at a hospital in the
Minneapolis suburb of Edina. He was 86. Just a month ago he attended a
Memorial Day observance at which ground was broken for a war monument
that will tell the story of the first flag raising, which was overshadowed by the
famous photo of the second flag to go up.
On the morning of Feb. 23, 1945, 24-year-old Corporal Lindberg, armed
with a flame-thrower, and five other Marines fought their way to the top of the
island's highest point. "Two of our men found this big, long pipe there," he
said in a 2003 interview with the Associated Press. "We tied the flag to it,
took it to the highest spot we could find and we raised it.
"Down below, the troops started to cheer, the ship's whistles went off, it was
just something that you would never forget," he said. "It didn't last too long,
because the enemy started coming out of the caves."
Four hours later, he was back in combat when other Marines raised a
second flag, immortalized in a photograph by Joe Rosenthal, who died last
year. Lindberg was awarded the Silver Star for bravery. Eyewitness to
History (http://www.eyewitne sstohistory. com/iwoflag. htm) has an account of
the flag-raising along with both photos, the first and the second raising, atop
Both flags are preserved at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
USA Today, June 24, 2007
Iwo Jima (Again)