HIGASHISHIRAKAWA, Japan – 6:00 p.m.
The younger brother of a fallen Japanese soldier has thanked a 93-year-old U.S. World War II veteran for returning his brother's flag and keeping it in good condition.
Marvin Strombo traveled all the way from Montana to Sadao Yasue's small mountainous village in central Japan on Tuesday to return the Japanese flag signed by Yasue's family and friends. He took the flag from Yasue's body 73 years ago on the Pacific Island of Saipan in the summer of 1944.
Yasue's body was never returned to his siblings and the flag is now the only trace of their brother back from the battlefield.
Tatsuya Yasue, the 89-year-old younger brother of the soldier, thanked Strombo for thinking about returning the flag for more than 70 years while keeping it in good shape, with all writings still clear and readable. He also thanked Strombo for staying healthy enough to make the journey to Japan.
A U.S. World War II veteran has returned to a fallen soldier's family a Japanese flag he took from the man's body 73 years ago.
Marvin Strombo knew the calligraphy-covered flag was more than a keepsake of the war. It was a treasure that would fill a void for the dead man's family.
The flag he handed over Tuesday to Sadao Yasue's siblings is the first trace of their brother. The Japanese authorities only gave them a wooden box containing a few rocks, a substitution for the remains that have never been returned.
Strombo has said he also plans to explain to Yasue's relatives how their brother died.