February 23, 1945. A single photograph captured the most famous and reproduced image of WWII and perhaps of all time. It’s difficult to overstate the impact this picture had on the war effort here in the States. Yet the iconic photo was almost never taken. Associated Press photographer, Joe Rosenthal, was positioning himself for the shot on top of Mt. Suribachi when the second flag was suddenly being raised. Barely able to swing his camera up, he snapped the shot. And for 1/400th of a second, time and history stood still. Rosenthal had been rejected from military service, due to his poor eyesight. He would later say he was lucky to catch the perfect shot. Because the second flag went up about noon, the light gave the figure sculptural depth. Rosenthal also noted that the 20-foot pipe the men found for a flagpole was heavy, and that the effort it took to lift it, imparted a feeling of action. He was always modest about his Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, saying, “I took the picture of the flag being raised, but the marines took Iwo Jima.” Despite this photo becoming synonymous with American victory, it was taken on the fifth day of the 36-day battle. Thousands more sacrifices were yet to come before victory could truly be claimed. We look at what happened to men on both sides after the flag went up on Iwo Jima.