The United States Marine Corps War Memorial was dedicated on November 10, 1954, the 179th anniversary of the US Marine Corps. A monument “In honor and in memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since November 10, 1775”.
The monument, sculpted by Felix W. de Weldon (Navy), depicts the famous photo by Joe Rosenthal of the unposed flag raising on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.
In 1945 American troops were fighting to capture the Pacific island of Iwo JIma. As the battle progressed, the troops raised American flags over captured Japanese positions. On February 23, 1945, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal captured an unposed flag raising on Mt Suribachi. A Pulitzer prize photo that became one of the most recognizable war photos of all time and forever linked with the US Marines.
These Iwo Jima bookends depict the photograph in low relief.
Follow this link to the National Park Service page that tells the story of the monument and the photo: United States Marine Corps War Memorial.