The original photograph was taken by Associate Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.
There are six flag raisers in the picture, four up front and two in the back. The four up front are: Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, John Bradley and Harlon Block and the two in the back are: Michael Strank and Rene Gagnon.
Micheal Strank was the seargant who lead the troops up Mt. Suribachi and it was his idea to raise the biggest flag possible up to on a pole, so that every Marine could know the Marines held the high ground. Strank is also the only one whose hand is not on the flag as he is helping out Franklin Sousley push up the pole. He died March 1, 1945 from a mortar attack
Harlon Block was Strank's second in command and took over after he died. Block died just hours after Strank died from another mortar blast. When the picture came out to the papers, he was not included in the list of people involved in the picutres, instead it was Harry Hansen. The US government launched an investigation to dispute the claim of Block's mother, which it later revealed as correct.
Franklin Sousley was a young kid when he started his career at the age of 17. When he turned 18, Sousley was shipped over to the Pacific. Sousley was the last of the flag-raisers to die on Iwo Jima, March 21.
Ira Hayes was a Pima Indian who had left his reservation to fight in the war. After being identified as one of the flag-raisers, President Truman asked him to return to the states and be a part of a Bond Tour. This tour was to be a challenge to him and also a painful reminder of all of his friends he left behind on the island. Hayes was one of the few survivor of the flag-raisers. After the Bond Tour, Hayes tried to drown his memories in whiskey. Hayes atteneded the dedication of the Iwo Jima memorial in Washington D.C, November 10, 1954. A couple of days later, Hayes drank himself to death.
Rene Gagnon was the youngest survivor of the flag-raisers and he also was the one who carried the flag up Mt. Suribachi. He was also the first of the survivors to return to the states, Gagnon led a quite life and is burried in Arlington National Cemetery.
John "Doc" Bradley was a Navy Corpsman who joined with the other Marines who were charging up the hill. He was wounded in both legs and was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism. Out of all of the survivors, he led the best adjusted post-war life and he passed away on January 11, 1994.
For more information on the Iwo Jima flag-raising please check out Marine Corps War Memorial. Also information for this node was found at www.iwojima.com, http://www.nps.gov/gwmp/usmc.htm, www.usmc.mil, and www.marinecorps.com