Military Connection: Donation Will Restore Iwo Jima Memorial

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By Debbie Gregory.

A $5.37 million gift will be used to restore a symbolic treasure that depicts the bravery of U.S. Marines who gave their lives to defend freedom.

Philanthropist David Rubenstein, the son of a Marine who served in the Pacific, announced that he will give the National Park Foundation the funds needed to wash, wax and restore the Iwo Jima sculpture, which honors all who have given their lives in the U.S. Marine Corps. The depiction memorializes a famous World War II scene, inspired by a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph by photographer Joe Rosenthal. The picture was taken after a bloody battle when the Americans moved to capture the island of Iwo Jima, which ultimately helped bring an end the war.

“Iwo Jima was one of the most brutal battles in our country’s history,” said Rubenstein, who made his fortune as a co-founder of The Carlyle Group investment firm. “Whenever something is restored or made better, it tends to attract more visitors. When you attract more visitors, more people learn about history and about the things that led to the memorial.”

The donation will also cover the cost of re-gilding the engravings and refurbishing the surrounding plaza and landscape. Improvements are also planned for the memorial’s signage and access for visitors, which number approximately 230,000 people each year.

The project is expected to take about two years, with a completion date estimated as summer of 2017. The memorial site, at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC, will remain open to the public.

Dan Wenk, interim president of the National Park Foundation, said “Mr. Rubenstein’s transformative gift is an inspiring example of the unique connections individuals have with their national parks and the important role that public-private partnerships play in ensuring that the places honoring our history and heritage are protected and preserved now and for future generations.”

Mr. Rubenstein’s gift is part of a larger capital campaign as the Park Service approaches its 100th anniversary in 2016.

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Military Connection: Donation Will Restore Iwo Jima Memorial: by Debbie Gregory