Ira Hayes was a member of the Pima tribe from Arizona, son of a grocery store clerk. Franklin Sousley's father was a truck farmer in Kentucky. As a 4-year-old, Michael Strank came with his mother from what is now Slovakia to join his father in the coal fields of Pennsylvania. Harlon Block's father, the son of German immigrants, had a farm in Texas, just north of the Mexican border. Rene Gagnon's parents were French-Canadian cotton mill workers in New Hampshire who separated when Rene was young. John Bradley, who lived most all his life in the Wisconsin dairy lands, was the son of a railroad brakeman.
On February 23, 1945, Joe Rosenthal, Washington D.C.-born son of a Jewish clothing merchant from Russia, took their picture on Iwo Jima. Joe died last Sunday.