On Feb. 23, 1945, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal captured one of the most iconic images in U.S. military history, as six Marines hoisted the American flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. In Oct. 2019, Harold “Pie” Keller of Brooklyn, Iowa, was identified as one of these Marines, 74 years after Rosenthal took the photograph. With his story almost lost to history, Keller’s hometown is now cementing his legacy with a monument funded in part by American firearms manufacturer Henry Repeating Arms and Iowa-based firearms parts and accessories supplier, Brownells.
The Brooklyn Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, is spearheading the memorial construction efforts with $17,000 left to raise to pay for the monument. To assist the foundation, Henry Repeating Arms created a limited-edition series of 100 Golden Boy Pie Keller Memorial Edition rifles (Model #H004PKM). In celebration of Flag Day, the rifles are available for sale through Brownells’ retail store in Grinnell, Iowa, and online at Brownells.com while supply lasts. Henry Repeating Arms is donating $50 for each gun sold, and all the proceeds from an online auction for the first rifle in the series. Bidding for serial no. 1 began on Flag Day as well on Gunbroker.com, item #902646486.
“We sincerely appreciate Henry Repeating Arms, Brownells, and Crow Shooting Supply for stepping up to the plate and providing so much assistance to make this monument a reality,” said Rusty Clayton of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “This is going to solidify Pie’s name and legacy in our town forever, and we could not have done it without the contributions that will come out of these incredible rifles.”
The Pie Keller Memorial rifle features a custom engraved genuine American walnut buttstock depicting a triumphant Keller at the summit of Mount Suribachi, M1 rifle in hand, with his fellow Marines in the background lifting the American flag as seen in Rosenthal’s famous image. The date, “February 23, 1945,” is etched above the design, and a flowing scroll banner below contains Keller’s name. Built on Henry’s Golden Boy platform, the .22-cal. rifle also features a Brasslite receiver cover, barrel band and buttplate with a 20” blued-steel octagon barrel. The H004PKM has an MSRP of $744.
“The fact that ‘Pie’ was misidentified for over 76 years is a testament to the man’s humility,” said Anthony Imperato, president and owner of Henry Repeating Arms. “He never came forward as one of the flag-raisers, not even to his kids, and I look forward to visiting the memorial to pay my respects to this incredible man in person.”
“We are honored to recognize a true hometown hero who made history by raising the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima more than 75 years ago,” said Pete Brownell, chairman of Brownells. “The image of the flag-raising has become a symbol of valor and unity in the United States. It’s fitting to have ‘Pie’ Keller’s heroics memorialized on another American icon, the Henry rifle, as it benefits a new memorial to Brooklyn, Iowa’s hometown hero.”