From Hilltop to Mountaintop

The image of the U.S. Marines raising the Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima may very well be the most famous photograph of all time. While Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal s iconic picture captured in the final stages of World War II fuses the men into a single historic unit, they remain six individuals and each was an American woman s precious baby boy. From an overall historical viewpoint, given that what we see in the photograph is American teamwork, courage and victory, the individual identities may not matter; nonetheless each of the six men has a unique background and traveled a distinctive path to reach the summit of Mt. Suribachi. Through exhaustive research into sources public and private, Ron Elliott has detailed the heart-warming and heart-wrenching drama that is the life and legacy of one of the flag raisers, Franklin Runyon Sousley. Sousley s story is related with all the tragedy, humor and excitement that compose the remarkable life of one chosen by fate to be representative of the thousands of Americans who sacrificed so much to preserve our way of life.