Famed Iwo Jima flags at National Museum of the Marine Corps for 2 weeks as it reopens

After having to shut down for several months because of the COVID-19 crisis, the National Museum of the Marine Corps welcomed visitors back Tuesday with a limited-time viewing of the two flags raised on Iwo Jima.

The World War II battle for Iwo Jima saw some 70,000 U.S. Marines and sailors invade the Japanese island, with about 7,000 killed in action and another 20,000 wounded. Taking the island from Japan provided an important strategic victory in the Pacific.

February marked the 75th anniversary of the famous assault.

The battle was immortalized in a photograph of Marines and a Navy corpsman working against the wind to raise an American Flag on Mt. Suribachi. The iconic photo captured the second flag raising in two days. The flags will be on display for only two weeks.

U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945. (Joe Rosenthal/AP)

Museum officials announced that strict safety protocols have been put in place to keep visitors and staff from potentially spreading the virus. Face coverings and social distancing are required and museum staff will be working to continually clean and sanitize surfaces. Hand sanitation stations are positioned throughout the museum.

Several of the museum’s exhibits will be closed, including those with interactive elements like the children’s gallery and other play areas.

The Marine Corps museum, located near Quantico, Virginia, also is working on new exhibits and galleries remembering the years from 1976 through the Global War on Terror. The galleries will highlight Marine action in Somalia, Beirut, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Stories in the galleries explore the role of the Marine family, the price of freedom, and even Marines who are also professional athletes,” museum officials said.

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