What’s the similarity between Tugu Negara and the famous Iwo Jima Sculpture?

I was reminded of it when I read a letter in a recent issue of The Economist written by Judy Gilbert.

Both sculptures were, of course, designed by the same person!

Felix de Weldon completed the Raising of the Flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima Memorial, in 1954. Twelve years later he finished the Tugu Negara in Kuala Lumpur.

The Iwo Jima Memorial was based on a famous photograph by Joe Rosenthal and so the people in the sculpture were real. It included the Native American, Ira Hayes, and I watched a movie about his sad life. As a teenager, I’d often listened to a Bob Dylan cover version of a song about him.

As for the Malaysia’s National Monument, I wonder if it was based on any real people. If so, are they still alive?

Iwo Jima Memorial

Tugu Negara

In 1975, the memorial suffered extensive damage when Communist Terrorists tried to blow it up. I recall the event well, as I was a boy in Standard Five living in KL then.

I visited the Tugu Negara one early morning about three years ago to take photos for the encyclopedia. My flight into KLIA arrived early that morning and, with time to kill, I sneaked in before the monument officially opened.

I was lucky I wasn’t arrested!