It was one of the bloodiest battles in World War II and set the scene for one of the most iconic photographs in U.S. history.
A survivor of the Battle of Iwo Jima had the honor of raising a brand new flag to the memorial in Newington on Thursday.
George Caron, 95, of Newington, fought in the battle as the Marines landed on and captured the Japanese-controlled island. The battle of Iwo Jima took place between February and March of 1945. More than 6,000 American soldiers lost their lives.
"For all the men that we lost, I still miss them," Caron said.
A famous photograph taken by The Associated Press's Joe Rosenthal of six marines raising the U.S. flag on top of Mount Suribachi became the symbol of the war effort in the Pacific.
It was also the inspiration for the Iwo Jima Memorial in Newington.
Thursday, Caron, a Marine from the 4th Division, was present at a ceremonial flag changing at the memorial.
Organizers said Caron raised funds and helped build the memorial itself, which is not far from the campus of Central Connecticut State University. He and 23 other war survivors helped raise $235,000.
Caron grew up on a farm in Maine with seven sisters and seven brothers. All seven brothers went to war and all came back.
He and his wife, Lois, bought a custom-made 48-star flag to replace the old, warn out flag that currently sits atop the memorial's flagpole. He's been married to his wife for 70 years.
With the help of the Newington Fire Department and one of its ladder trucks, Caron and his wife raised the new Old Glory.
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