The Story of the American Flag Through Stamps

The Flag Atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima

3-cent Iwo Jima stamp
The 3-cent Iwo Jima stamp was issued July 11, 1945.

The Battle of Iwo Jima witnessed some of the fiercest fighting of the Pacific Theatre during World War II. During the five-week long struggle between February and March 1945, American forces fought to capture and secure the strategic island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese. The United States Marine Corps suffered over 27,000 casualties including close to 7,000 combat deaths. At the conclusion of the battle, the vast majority of the Japanese garrison was wiped out with over 21,000 dead.

To honor the United States Marine Corps on a postage stamp, the Post Office Department chose one of the most iconic images of World War II. The stamp depicts the raising of the American flag over Mt. Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima. The design of the 3-cent stamp issued on July 11, 1945, reproduces the historic photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press on February 23, 1945. The fighting on Iwo Jima would last for another four weeks after Rosenthal snapped his famous photo.