Raising the Flag: Ira Hayes
Updated: Feb 22
Highlighting Ira Hayes: A Marine to Remember
Over the city of Arlington, VA, the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial stands as a reminder of the sacrifices made on the island of Iwo Jima during WWII. The iconic statue displays 6 men raising the American flag in the midst of active warfare.
On February 23rd, 1945 Ira Hayes joined five fellow soldiers to raise the flag, symbolizing the end of Japanese control. This inspiring act was photographed and fixed into the memory of the American people for the men's display of bravery and passion.
Ira Hayes was born a member of the Pima tribe in 1923. During his childhood, America was invested in long-standing questions of citizenship. At the onset of WWII, his parents were only then being offered the right to vote. Despite these hardships, Hayes was known to be proud of both his heritage and country, displaying an American flag proudly in their home. At the age of 19, Hayes enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor. His drive through the enlistment period pushed him to volunteer for the elite force of paratroopers. He was the first Pima to earn paratrooper wings.
On the morning of the battle of Iwo Jima, the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy charged onto the Solomon Islands to take control from the Axis Powers. Hayes and others descended upon Mount Suribachi in the middle of battle. The soldiers below, upon seeing the stars and stripes above them, were able to push for a costly victory for the Allies, solidifying this moment in history.
Upon returning home, Ira Hayes was able to see this moment solidified in memory at the unveiling of the war memorial. Today, Hayes is buried in Arlington Cemetery next to members of his battalion.
As our country recognizes Native American Heritage Month, it is important to recognize all of the contributions that Native Americans have provided for our country. Ira Hayes is one among many that fought for a country that would not yet recognize their full contributions. Boone Group is proud to recognize service members from all walks of life. Their many contributions are what motivate us to do our best every day to make necessary changes for the success of the warfighter.