The Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, just started its multimillion dollar rehabilitation.
Aaron LaRocca, the chief of staff in the office of the superintendent for the George Washington Memorial Parkway, told Marine Corps Times that the project is slated to last until February 2018.
During this time, much of the memorial will be surrounded by scaffolding and the loop around the memorial along with the parking area will be closed off.
Businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein donated $5.37 million in 2015 to ”commemorate the bravery of U.S. Marines who gave their lives to defend freedom and to honor the continued patriotism and sacrifice of America’s military families,” according to a National Park Service news release.
The last big rehab of the memorial took place from 2004-2005, but according to LaRocca, the scope of the current rehabilitation project is much larger.
“The generous donation by Mr. David Rubenstein is allowing us to not only clean the statue, but wax, regild, redo the roadway and improve the visitor experience,” LaRocca said.
The memorial serves as the finish line for the Marine Corps Marathon every year. LaRocca said that the finish line for the marathon will not be impacted by the renovation, but they will be working with the permit holders for the marathon to arrange a backdrop for the finisher photos.
The Marine Corps War Memorial, often referred to as the Iwo Jima Memorial, was dedicated in a ceremony on Nov. 10, 1954 — the 179th birthday of the Marine Corps ― by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The iconic memorial depicts the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken by The Associated Press’ Joe Rosenthal that captures Marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi during World War II.