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Henry 'Hank' Hansen
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Military Personnel
    (December 14, 1919-March 1, 1945)
    Born in Boston, Massachusetts
    Henry Oliver Hansen
    Marine Corps sergeant
    Participated in the original combat patrol climbing and capturing of Mt. Suribachi, and the mounting the first of two flags (Feb. 23, 1943)
    Killed in action on Iwo Jima, on a week later (determined between March 1 and March 3)
    Interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific near Honolulu on the island of Oahu in Hawaii
    Incorrectly identified among the flag-raisers in Joe Rosenthal's famous 'Iwo Jima' photograph
    Portrayed by Paul Walker in the Clint Eastwood film, 'Flags of Our Fathers' (2006)
    Surviving flag raisers Rene Gagnon and John Bradley initially confused him with flag-raiser Harlon Block.
    Ira Hayes recognized that it wasn't him and attempted to correct the record, but was ordered by the public relations department to say nothing further of it because the names of the flag raisers had already been made public.
    Hayes later hitchhiked to visit Block's grieving parents to notify them that it was really Harlon in the picture, prompting them to contact their local Congressional office to dispute the identification.
    Even before Hayes' visit, Block's mother had been sure it was him. Whenever Ed Block Sr. showed the photo with the photo to her she would shake her head and 'I don't care what the papers say. I've changed so many diapers on that boy's butt - I know its my boy.'
    This matter was further complicated by the fact that neither he nor Block were alive to confirm or deny who 'was or wasn't really there' (that the face is barely visible doesn't help much either).
    It took eighteen months and a Congressional investigation to officially determine that Hansen was not one of the six 'flag raisers.'
    The Henry O. Hansen Memorial Park, in his home town of Somerville, was named in his honor.
    He joined the Marines at 18, and trained as a Paramarine.
    He was part of the original company to actually plant the 'first flag' on Mt. Suribachi.
    The initial publicity surrounding his and the other five Marines' heroism proved tremendously comforting to his family, particularly his mother who once held the photo up to a reporter beaming 'that's my son.'
    Whether or not he's actually 'in' Rosenthal's famous photo is immaterial - he took part in the actual flag raising during the combat, as opposed to a staged reenactment (in a way making it even more special).
    Story has it that once the Marines took control of Suribachi, he looked around for something to hang the flag on. He found a lead pipe on the ground, attached the flag to it, and they hoisted the flag up.
    The details of his death are unclear, but it is strongly believed that he was fatally wounded by an enemy mortar round. He was buried in the 5th Marine Division cemetery on the island, before being transported to the National Memorial Cemetery.
    He is memorialized on a stone in Somerville with an excerpt from the Kohima Epitaph: When you go home/Tell them of us and say/For your tomorrow/We gave our today.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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