by Ron Elliott
Foreword by Heather French Henry
The image of the U.S. Marines raising the Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima may very well be the most famous photograph of all time. While Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal’s iconic picture – captured in the final stages of World War II – fuses the men into a single historic unit, they remain six individuals and each was an American woman’s precious baby boy.
From an overall historical viewpoint, given that what we see in the photograph is American teamwork, courage and victory, the individual identities may not matter; nonetheless each of the six men has a unique background and traveled a distinctive path to reach the summit of Mt. Suribachi.
Through exhaustive research into sources public and private, Ron Elliott has detailed the heart-warming and heart-wrenching drama that is the life and legacy of one of the flag raisers, Franklin Runyon Sousley. Sousley’s story is related with all the tragedy, humor and excitement that compose the remarkable life of one chosen by fate to be representative of the thousands of Americans who sacrificed so much to preserve our way of life.
6" x 9", hardbound
"A mere 1/400th of a second captured Franklin’s legacy which endures in bronze, at the Marine Corps War Memorial, a tribute to the Marine dead of all wars since 10 Nov 1775. As long as the American flag proudly flies above the most cherished of America’s icons, the memory and sacrifice of Franklin and thousands like him will not be forgotten."
– James “Jim” Donovan
Executive Director, Marine Corps War Memorial Foundation
"Sousley’s heroism as a Marine has been documented in books and film, but now Ron Elliott sheds light on Sousley’s formative years and how it impacted his time in the service and his family members as well as the nation after his death."
– Maysville Independent Ledger
"Whatever transpired to cause the miracle of the flag raising at Iwo Jima, no one can dispute the power it still brings today... the image of boys like Franklin Sousley, a farm boy from small town Kentucky, who by no will of his own, helped to encourage and capture the spirit of America."
– Heather French Henry, Miss America 2000
Executive Director, The Heather French Foundation for Veterans, Inc.
Articles (PDF versions)
Kentucky Society 2012 State Media Award
Fleming County Bulletin Article
Kentucky Standard Article
Fleming Gazette Article
Franklink Sousley - American Hero
About the Author
Ron Elliott, a native of Lincoln County, Kentucky, is a graduate of Stanford High School, Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky.
Ron’s background includes working on the historic Apollo missions, which placed Americans on the moon and teaching in Kentucky’s Community College system. Having a relative involved in the assassination of Kentucky’s would-be governor, William Goebel, piqued his interest in history.
A popular speaker, Ron is the author of Assassination at the State House, The Silent Brigade, Inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire, Through the Eyes of Lincoln and numerous magazine articles.
Semi-retired, Ron and his wife, Carol, currently live in Nelson County, Kentucky.