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February 1945. Even as victory in Europe was finally within reach, the war in the Pacific raged on. One of the most crucial and bloodiest battles of the war was the struggle for the island of Iwo Jima, which culminated with what would become one of the most iconic images in history: five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi.
The inspiring photo capturing that moment became a symbol of victory to a nation that had grown weary of war and made instant heroes of the six American soldiers at the base of the flag, some of whom would die soon after, never knowing that they had been immortalized. But the surviving flag raisers had no interest in being held up as symbols and did not consider themselves heroes; they wanted only to stay on the front with their brothers in arms who were fighting and dying without fanfare or glory.
â€œFlags of Our Fathersâ€ is based on the bestselling book by James Bradley with Ron Powers, which chronicled the battle of Iwo Jima and the fates of the flag raisers and some of their brothers in Easy Company. Bradleyâ€™s father, John â€œDocâ€ Bradley, was one of the soldiers pictured raising the flag, although James never knew the full extent of his fatherâ€™s experiences until after the elder Bradleyâ€™s death in 1994.