Hayes (on the far left of the photograph) became a national hero, along with the two other survivors of the famous photograph, Rene Gagnon and John Bradley. Hayes's story drew particular attention because he was Native American.
After the war Hayes was arrested some fifty times for drunkenness. He apparently suffered greatly from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which was not well known or understood at the time. Hayes was found dead in 1955 at the age of 32, face down and lying in his own vomit and blood near an abandoned hut close to his home on the Gila River Indian Reservation. He had been drinking and playing cards with several other men. The coroner concluded that Hayes' death was due to both exposure and alcohol. Hayes is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Ira Hayes appeared in the 1949 John Wayne film Sands of Iwo Jima along with the two other surviving fellow flag raisers. All three men played themselves in the movie when Wayne hands the flag to be raised to the three men. (The actual flag that was raised on Mount Suribachi is used in the film.) The life of Ira Hayes was featured in a book by James Bradley called Flags of Our Fathers
Johnny Cash (who was actually Scottish and not part Native American as he had believed for a time) performed “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” by Peter LaFarge. Cash took the song to No. 3 on the Billboard country music chart in 1964. Here are some of the lyrics--
There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill
To walk back down again
Ira returned a hero
Everybody shook his hand
Billy Walkabout was one of the most decorated soldiers of that war. He received the Purple Heart, five Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism in Vietnam in 1968 while with U.S. Army Company F, 58th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The citation states that—
PFC Piestewa was a member of the US Army's 507th Army Maintenance Company, a support unit of clerks, cooks, and repair personnel. Her company was traveling in a convoy through the desert and was meant to bypass Nasiriyah in southern Iraq during the opening days of the war.