This is the original Iwo Jima flag photo

This photo by U.S. Marine Lou Lowery inspired the more famous image at Iwo Jima, taken by Joe Rosenthal two hours later. Source: Annin Flagmakers: An Illustrated History, published by

To celebrate the Fourth of July, we share the true story of the World War II Iwo Jima flag photo, as contained in’s commissioned history of Annin Flagmakers, written by Marian Calabro: “This was the first U.S. flag raised on Iwo Jima. It was made by Annin and photographed under enemy fire by U.S. Marine Lou Lowery at 10:30 A.M. on February 23, 1945. At 1:00 P.M, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took the famous photo in which a larger flag was being raised. Lowery donated his photo to Annin after the war.”

Further details, also from the book: “Annin’s most famous wartime contribution was the flag planted atop Mt. Suribachi, where the Battle of Iwo Jima took place in February and March, 1945. American Marines planted a relatively small flag, 54 by 28 inches, on the fifth day of the 35-day battle. ‘Since the sight of the flag was important to the morale of the troops, who still had a lot of fighting to do before Iwo Jima was secured, the Commanding Officer decided to raise a larger flag, resulting in Joe Rosenthal’s famous picture,’ according to The Annin Banner. Rosenthal’s iconic photo became one of the most reproduced images of all time.”

Other curious but true World War II stories from Annin Flagmakers via the book: “The war generated some odd and fascinating projects. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, the Federal Bureau of Investigation got a tip about ‘a nest of traitors’ making Japanese flags on Fifth Avenue. False alarm: the Pentagon had hired Annin to supply flags that would arouse audiences during mock battles at war-bond drives. Annin also made enemy flags for use in U.S. War Department movies, and stitched U.S. banners in purple, white, and orange that would appear as red, white, and blue under primitive Technicolor film cameras. Other unusual assignments included waterproof flags for submarines and luminous ones to wave in the dark.”

(Note: regrets that Annin Flagmakers: An Illustrated History is not available for direct sale. We published it privately for Annin. If you are interested in the book, we suggest you contact Annin directly or search for it on used book sites.)