Jul 3, 2016 3:41 PM
CONCORD — More than 70 years ago, photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped the photo of Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima for the Associated Press, but Rene Gagnon Jr. of Concord can still quickly point out his dad.
"It was just a spur of the moment thing that Rosenthal caught that image, and it became iconic," Gagnon Jr. said. "It represented everything that we were fighting for."
The photo would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize, showed up on everything from postage stamps to posters, and eventually turned into a national monument. Gagnon Sr., lucky to make it home alive from the war, reenacted the raising of the flag in John Wayne's 1949 film "Sands of Iwo Jima." It was a twist Gagnon Jr. said his dad never could have predicted when the photo was taken.
"Basically, he was in the Marines. They said, 'Here's a flag. Bring it up that hill, and raise it.'"
According to historians, the fighting men hoisted another flag that day before Rosenthal took the famous photo. But it was considered too puny.
"We need a bigger flag," Gagnon Jr. recounted of what his father told him about that day. "The first one was too small. So, that's what he did. It was an order. That's what they had to do."
For years, Navy Corpsman John Bradley was thought to be part of the second flag-raising captured in the storied photo. But recently the Marine Corps confirmed the man pictured was instead PFC Harold Schultz of Detroit, Mich.
A new Smithsonian Channel documentary airing Sunday, July 3, dives into the investigation that triggered the discovery.
Gagnon Jr. said he is not sure what his father, who has since died, would have to say about this new development.
"I don't know what point or how far he knew. What he didn't know. It'd be great to talk to him again to find out."
But as the old saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words."
2 hours 6 minutes agoAfter several recent scandals, where the Division of Children, Youth, and Families is under scrutiny for failure to stop several abuse and murder cases...
3 hours 9 minutes agoA Candia mother faces attempted murder charges after allegedly holding a loaded gun to her 12-year-old daughter's head and later firing at her as...
4 hours 36 minutes agoVice President Joe Biden campaigns for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the general election battleground state of New Hampshire. (More)
5 hours 10 minutes agoRepublican Congressman Frank Guinta supports his party’s presidential nominee, but he disagrees with Donald Trump when it comes to respecting and accepting results of...
14 hours 44 minutes agoRIVER FALLS, Wis. (AP) — As a tumultuous campaign nears an end, undecided voters across the country watched the final debate of the U.S. presidential race with a mix of skepticism and rapt attention Wednesday night. They were searching for clarity, and some found it. But others remained painfully...