Officially, the Memorial at the edge of Arlington National Cemetery is the United States Marine Corps War Memorial. Virtually everyone on the planet, however, refers to it as the Iwo Jima Memorial. Cast in bronze and dedicated in November 1954, the Memorial depicts the rising of the Stars and Stripes over Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima, by five Marines and one US Navy corpsman.
Though I’ve passed by it countless times, the Memorial is usually surrounded during the day by an almost impenetrable blockade of tour buses. There are few non-automotive methods of reaching the Memorial, as it is not near a Metro stop or most other visitor attractions. The parking lot on the circular drive around the Memorial is quite small, and the tour buses make them hard to reach, assuming they aren’t full.
Solution: visit in the middle of the night. Admittedly, this presents some problems, as taking a “normal” picture is difficult without light. Flood lights shine on the Memorial, but floodlights on dark metal makes a photo quite challenging.
The solution: patience, and a tripod. Or in my case, a monopod, which is one-third of a tripod. There are quite a few visitors even late at night, as you can see in the animation. Some of these drove up in cars, but even more arrived by tour buses. Apparently, night-time tours of DC are quite popular, overlooking for the moment that the Memorial, and Pentagon, and Arlington National Cemetery are in Virginia.
The flag raising not only inspired the design of the Memorial but also the design of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia, as a quick glance at the roofline will show.
Someday, I hope to stop by during the day.