Ira Hayes appeared in the 1949 film, Sands of Iwo Jima, along with fellow flag raisers John Bradley and Rene Gagnon. All 3 men played themselves in the movie. John Wayne hands the flag to be raised to the 3 men. (The actual flag that was raised on Iwo Jima is used in the film.)
After the war, Hayes had some 50 arrests for drunkenness. He said: “I was sick. I guess I was about to crack up thinking about all my good buddies. They were better men than me and they're not coming back. Much less back to the White House, like me.”
In 1954, after a ceremony where he was lauded by President Eisenhower as a hero, a reporter rushed up and asked, “How do you like the pomp and circumstance?” Hayes hung his head and said, “I don't.”
On January 24, 1955, Ira Hayes was found dead, 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 was 32. – wikipedia
Ira Hayes, Ira Hayes,
Call him drunken Ira Hayes,
He won't answer anymore.
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian,
Nor the Marine that went to war.
Gather round me people there's a story I would tell
About a brave young Indian you should remember well.
From the land of the Pima Indian,
A proud and noble band,
Who farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona land.
Down the ditches for a thousand years
The water grew Ira's peoples' crops
'Till the white man stole the water rights
And the sparklin' water stopped.
Now Ira's folks were hungry
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came, Ira volunteered
And forgot the white man's greed
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war
There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill,
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived
to walk back down again
And when the fight was over
And when Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was the Indian, Ira Hayes
Ira returned a hero
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored;
Everybody shook his hand
But he was just a Pima Indian
No water, no crops, no chance
At home nobody cared what Ira'd done
And when did the Indians dance
Then Ira started drinkin' hard;
Jail was often his home
They'd let him raise the flag and lower it
like you'd throw a dog a bone.
He died drunk one mornin'
Alone in the land he fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes
Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes
But his land is just as dry
And his ghost is lyin' thirsty
In the ditch where Ira died
– Johnny Cash