Happy Birthday, America!

Iwo Jima Memorial at night.Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington, Virginia

While I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area for 35 years, I had never visited this amazing memorial at night until a few months ago, lured by trying out a rented Fuji XT1. Scores of tourist buses lined the parking lot, and visitors happily snapped photos of this iconic site. While I photographed the statue from up close, I was having a difficult time getting the wider angle shot I so badly wanted – that is until my husband suggested climbing on top of a stone pillar a distance from the memorial. Large enough for me and my tripod, it was the perfect vantage point to capture it along with the Washington Monument and the Capitol and the group of tourists on the right, barely visible, staring up at the memorial.

Thanks to my husband for the suggestion (and for helping me get up and down from a very high pillar!).

(From Wikipedia: The United States Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) is a United States military monument near the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. The memorial is dedicated to all personnel of the United States Marine Corps who have died in the defense of the United States since 1775.

The memorial features the statues of the six servicemen who raised the second U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II, on February 23, 1945, five Marines and one Navy corpsman: Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon Block, Private First Class Rene Gagnon, Private First Class Ira Hayes, Private First Class Franklin Sousley, and Pharmacist Mate Second Class John Bradley (USN).

The design of the memorial by Horace W. Peaslee and massive sculpture by sculptor Felix de Weldon was based on the iconic photograph of the raising of the second flag (replaced smaller flag) on Mount Suribachi by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.)

40 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, America!

    • Hi, Tina. They show up on my end… But if I’m the only blog that’s not showing pictures on yours, then I’m wondering where the glitch might be??? Thanks for letting me know. If I hear from anyone else that they’re having the same problem, I’ll let you know.


      • I think the issue’s on my end since I updated WP on my IPAD. There are others that don’t show up and I can see them perfectly on my MAC. GRRRRR……the mobile WP app is a mess. May be because I have an older IPAD. Anyway the good news is there’s no issue w your site Stacy.


        • Sorry to hear the update didn’t go well, Tina. I hope you’ve been able to sort it out by this morning! I don’t remember when I last updated mine, but I’m going to steer clear of any for a while to make sure any bugs are worked out!


  1. Some years ago while attending the National Restaurant Association meeting in Washington I had a wonderful experience to take a limo ride at night to many of the Washington monuments. I was quite taken by the Korean War Veterans Memorial way after dark. It moved me to tears.


    • Hi, Miriam! How wonderful to see your name pop up on my blog 🙂 The night tour of DC is something every visitor should find time to take. It really is spectacular. But you’re absolutely right about the Korean War Memorial. The first time I saw it, I was a passenger in a car as it drove by driving by. I remember yelling “Pull over!,” wondering exactly what it was I was seeing. It was so ethereal lit from below to show the shadowed faces on those statues. Unbelievable image I still carry in my mind, even when I see it in the daylight. Thanks so much for commenting. Hope all is well in BR!


  2. What a clever husband Stacy. Its funny how we are so busy trying to get the picture we cant see whats around us so great to have that second pair of eyes. I didn’t realise how big the monument was until I read your piece about all the tourists which, as you said were only just visible, in the background. Your view and the light shining on the monument kept my eyes on the prize as it were! Great shot 🙂


    • Yup, I think I’ll keep him, Kaz 😉 As for the size of the monument, it is HUGE – and another reason I pointed out the tourists. Certainly helps to put it in perspective. Those who chose the site of the monument certainly knew what they were doing. It was wonderful to experience at night like that. Definitely a place I will have to revisit over the course of the year. Thanks, as always!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. WOW Stacy! It sure looks different at night. Just beautiful. You’ve caught it at it’s best I think with the Washington Monument in the distance also lit. Then the dome too. Now is that ‘The Library of Congress’ dome or the Whitehouse? I think the flag is perfected unfurled too. You must have been so happy to review your shots this night. It’s like a bright white light shines down on these men from heaven. Feels different than seeing it during the day. I took a lot of close up shots since there was only a handful of us there when Julia and I visited. I was very moved when I looked at their faces.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It IS beautiful at night, isn’t it, Boomdee? And that dome is the Capitol! 🙂 And, you’re right about reviewing the shots – I took quite a few and while there were certainly a number of rejects, I was overjoyed when this one hit my screen! The faces on the statues are indeed impressive and emotional – capturing them up close at night with the crowds of tourists was just too difficult, given the need for a tripod. Have you posted any of them that you took?? Apologies, as I can’t seem to remember. If you haven’t, you must 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Great shot of an iconic symbol.

    I’m glad you made it on and off the pillar and I’m glad, too, that I’m reading this AFTER your adventure in photography and that it all ended well. 🙂


    • Sometimes it works, Patti 😉 And thanks for you kind comment AND your holiday wishes. Hope you had a great one. We watched the NYC Fireworks on tv and I was just (how do you say it?) gobsmacked! Fantastic!!!


  5. What a fabulous shot…! Breathtaking! Worth every bit of hard work you endeavored!
    Now… I have to tell you… I had to go hunting for you. For some reason you were not coming up in my Reader anymore. I had to follow you again. But was so happy to do so! Happy 4th of July!


  6. great image – oh what we do for the image, or maybe we should say, oh what our partners do for us to get the image!!! I love when my husband travels out with me, he is a second pair of eyes that encourages me to try new things and new vantage points. Great team work!


    • Ha, thanks, Janice 🙂 While our photographic forays together are few and far between (he’d rather be out playing golf 😀 and I move too slowly for him most of the time when photographing), it really is fun to have the chance to see places through his eyes!


  7. Good morning, Stacy. Beautiful photo! I haven’t visited the site yet. My husband did when we were in the area last time, but I was tied up with a family event. I definitely want to see it on my next trip… maybe I can find the pillar you took this photo? 😉 I love how you included the Washington Monument and the Capitol in the background!
    Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend.


    • Hi, Helen! Thanks so much for your nice comment 🙂 It’s such a beautiful memorial and, truth be told, I definitely prefer it at night exactly because the monuments are all visible. Next time you’re out here, let me know and I’ll personally show you that pillar 🙂

      Liked by 1 person



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