HIGASHISHIRAKAWA, Japan – A U.S. Marine who served in the Pacific during World War II is in a remote village in Japan to return a flag he took from the body of a fallen Japanese soldier 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, but Strombo didn't know how deep that void was.
The flag he is to hand over to Sadao Yasue's siblings Tuesday will be 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 them how their brother died.