Snow sculpture depicts Iwo Jima flag-raising


Move over, Frosty.

When the northern Virginia-D.C. area got a healthy foot of snow late last week, some creative souls saw a motivated opportunity. This photograph appeared on the internet forum Reddit, showing a detailed snow sculpture in the parking lot of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va.

Epic snow sculpture outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Image via Reddit

The sculpture depicts the famous 1945 flag-raising on Mount Suribachi, which was immortalized in an AP photograph snapped by Joe Rosenthal. That image is also captured in the Marine Corps Memorial outside Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., and served as the inspiration for the spire on the Museum of the Marine Corps. Thus, backdrop of the snow sculpture provides an elegant, even artistic, juxtaposition.

Marine Corps Memorial, via Wikipedia

The sculpture’s creators added another patriotic touch: an American flag on a makeshift pole made from a piece of wood.

Update: according to the museum’s Facebook page, this sculpture is the work of active-duty Marines Tim Lewis and Derek Reynolds of Quantico, who completed the masterpiece in two days to honor veterans of Iwo Jima who visited the museum. Bravo Zulu, gentlemen!


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  1. Derek Reynolds on

    We actually had no idea the Iwo Jima veterans were going to be there that day. We thought the Museum was going to be closed again that day. We just had the day off and thought it would be fun to do. Thank you for all the “likes” and comments on Facebook and other social media! It is an honor to make the Marine Corps Times for something that we did for fun. Also, I wanted to say thank you to Tim for inviting me out to help him play in the snow!

  2. For any wondering, we used the Rosenthal photo as our reference which is why our guys are more spread out than they are in the Arlington Monument.

    Like Derek said, we just did this for fun… maybe take a couple of pictures and laugh about it later. We actually expected for the museum to be closed and for the security to kick us out. The fact that they were open and supportive, and that the Iwo Jima guys were there was simply wonderful.

    Thanks again for all the kind words.

  3. Martha Covington on

    I see that the photo is credited to Reddit. Can you tell me how to contact him/her? I am the adviser for our school yearbook and would like permission to use the photo in our yearbook. Thanks

  4. Derek Reynolds on

    The original photo was taken by a member of the public affairs office of the Marine Corps Museum, so if you contacted them they may be able to assist.

  5. Martha – If Derek is correct and the photo was taken by a Marine PAO then it is public domain. Professionally speaking, you should still seek to correctly attribute the photo, (and the sculpture for that matter) but you do not have to ask permission. Taxpayer money and all.

  6. I was a Marine and served in the Korean War in the 7th Motor Transport Battalion. I will always be thankful to out Second World War Vets they allowed me the chance to grow up in a free nation so many of them died providing that. I always followed the Marines during that war and their terrible Island Battles they fought and won, so the most important thing in my life was to be a Marine and I was in 1951. I was 8 years old when the Second World War started.

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