Uncommon Valor, Common Virtue By Joe Rosenthal

915 Words 4 Pages
It is said "a picture is worth a thousand words," “Uncommon Valor, Common Virtue” with a collection of photographs about Iwo Jima provide a critical understanding of battle during World War II and the sacrifices made by those involved. Joe Rosenthal is the photographer that is the main focus of the book. He began working for the Associated Press around the time America became involved in World War II. Which branched into his war photography, most importantly the photography he did on Iwo Jima. To start the book jumps into the history of the war and Rosenthal’s job in the war. Iwo Jima is an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean. Therefore once the Americans invade the island, there would be no way to escape. Iwo Jima was shelled and bombed …show more content…
The photo has since been remembered in forms such as statues and stamps. Despite popular belief, the popular photograph of the flag raising is not the original flag raising. There was a second flag raising that involved replacing the first flag with a larger more visible flag. This led to later controversy that the photo was staged, which was false. It was widely believed that the photo symbolized the end of the war, which was also false. The war continued for weeks after the photo was released.
Of the six flag-raisers in Rosenthal’s photograph three survived to see the success and controversy the photo caused. The six flag raisers were as follows: Michael Strank, Harlon H. Block, Rene A. Gagnon, John H. Bradley, Ira H. Hayes, and Franklin R. Sousley. Hayes, Gagnon, and Bradley were the only survivors of the six. While they were hesitant at first, they traveled across the United States serving as War Bond ambassadors and attending ceremonies after the war.
Throughout the progression of public attention towards Rosenthal photograph, Rosenthal was overshadowed. He may have been the photographer that captured the moment, but that did not mean he was to be acknowledged by important delegates when the different memorializations were
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I had a lot of preconceptions about the famous photograph before reading this book. One of the main ones being that I thought it was the only photo taken and that I thought there was only one photographer who captured this moment. I also did not fully understand the meaning behind the photo. But mainly, I did not know that this photo did not symbolize the end of the war. These false preconceptions allowed me to learn much more from reading this book. It showed me a value that is most importantly true in today’s society. That it doesn’t matter who gets the information first, who captures the first image, who interviews the first witness. It matters who informs the media first, who publishes it first. As I read in the book Rosenthal was not the first photographer to capture this moment on Iwo Jima. And the famous photograph is actually not the original photograph. This shows that media and speed control American media.
In conclusion, “Uncommon Valor, Common Virtue” should stay on your list. It creates an inside look of battle in World War II and shows how influential this one photo was to society. It taught me a lot more about World War II than any history class or book has. It gave me an inside look on a very important man in history, Joe

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