World War II Veteran delivers a promise after 73 years…
YouTube / OBON SOCIETY
73 Years In The Making
Marvin Strombo traveled more than 5,000 miles to return a dead Japanese soldier’s flag to its rightful owners.
During the war, the now-93-year-old veteran served with the 2nd Marine Division as an elite sniper scouter. While walking alone during the 1944 invasion of Saipan, Strombo came across the body of a fallen Japanese soldier. Alongside the soldier was a customary flag known as a yosegaki hinomaru.
These calligraphy-covered flags usually featured signatures of friends and family members, wishing for the soldier’s safe return.
I finally realized, if I didn’t take it, somebody else would have, and it would be lost forever. […] I made a promise to him that, someday, I would try to return it.
The flag remained with Strombo for decades, until he reached out to the Obon Society, a nonprofit that coordinates the return of battlefield souvenirs. The organization identified the soldier as Sadao Yasue, of Hiashishirakawa, Japan.
At last, Strombo finally fulfilled his promise to Sadao Yasue. The veteran gave the flag during a ceremony that included Yasue’s brother and two sisters.
It was a very emotional moment, really. […] I could see that it made them quite happy.