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A small post on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, holds the rank and other various insignias of numerous servicemembers who visited the historic flag-raising site. Below sit the famous black sand beaches. A rifle detail of U.S. Marines shoots of one of three volleys for a 21-gun salute at the end of the 61st anniversary commemoration ceremony Wednesday on Iwo Jima. The ceremony paid tribute to the men who fought there from both sides, including the more than 21,000 Japanese and 6,800 Americans killed in action. Retired U.S. Marine Corps generals Lt. Gen. Larry Snowden, left, and Maj. Gen. Fred Haynes pause for a moment of silence with other veterans of the battle of Iwo Jima. The monument paying tribute to the Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, flag raising in 1945. Dog tags on the monument on Mount Suribachi. Members of the Japanese delegation — from left, Yoshitaka Shindo, the grandson of Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi; Kiyoshi Endo, Japanese Iwo Jima Veterans Association chairman; and Tokuichiro Tamazawa, House of Representatives — lay a wreath at the "Reunion of Honor" monument on Iwo Jima Wednesday. World War II veteran Lewis Johnson gathers a bottle of black sand from the beach of Iwo Jima before Wednesday's ceremony. Johnson was in the Navy as a "Higgins" boat crew member, but never fought in the Pacific; he did take part in operations throughout the Atlantic, including the D-Day landing in Normandy. He came to Iwo Jima to "honor the Marines for what they did." Yoshitaka Shindo, the grandson of Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi, and Tokuichiro Tamazawa, House of Representatives, pour water over the "Reunion of Honor" monument on Iwo Jima. Seaman Michael Benally, an operations specialist on the USS Essex, says a prayer on the black sand beach of Iwo Jima Wednesday. The Essex and USS Harpers Ferry, carrying the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, stopped at the island to participate in the 61st anniversary commemoration ceremony. Benally, whose great uncle fought on the island, then gathered a bottle of the famous sand for family members in St. Michael's, Ariz. "I wanted to pay my respects to those who fought and died here," he said. "And I was always taught to give something back if you take something."

Read the story that accompanied these photos here.

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