World War II veteran reportedly hopes to return dead Japanese soldier's flag to family

A World War II veteran is reportedly on a mission to return a Japanese flag he pulled from the body of a sniper nearly 70 years ago in the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Aurora Beacon-News reports that Ken Udstad, of Aurora, Ill., found the silk flag in the tunic of a soldier who died in a dugout sometime during 1944 or 1945. Udstad, who will turn 92 on Monday, was interviewed by a reporter from a Japanese newspaper in hopes of locating the soldier’s family to tell them the soldier died quickly and didn’t suffer during a concussion grenade blast.

“I hope I can give them peace of mind,” Udstad told the newspaper. “And tell them … it happened quickly ... he did not suffer.”

The orange and white flag, which still has apparent blood stains, was signed by well-wishers in the soldier's hometown of Tago, a Japanese village says no longer exists, the newspaper reports. A handwritten note on the flag says "good luck in fighting" and "safe return."

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