Although in his 90s and visibly frail, Marvin Strombo, a WWII war veteran who took part in the Pacific War, was determined to honor a promise he’d made to a Japanese soldier whose body he discovered in the middle of No Man’s Land in Japan.
When the young Strombo came across the soldier, Sadao Yasue, whom he believed had been killed by a mortar attack, he noticed he was clinging to a Japanese flag under his uniform. Strombo was touched by this soldier’s clear devotion, and decided he wanted to take the flag that was covered in calligraphy and one day return it to the fallen soldier’s family.
In retelling the story that was recently posted by Happiness Heroes, Strombo is filled with pain, so much so that he needed to rest during filming. But it is heartening to see that he was finally able to get some closure to an event that obviously had such a profound effect on his life.
After 73 years, and with the help of the Obon Society (a non-profit that aims to reconcile families affected by the war), Strombo once more flew across the Pacific, this time for a much happier reason. He was finally able to restore the Yosegaki Hinomaru (a good-luck flag that had over 180 signatures of friends and family) to the soldier’s brother, Tatsuya Yasue.
In a moving ceremony you can see the veteran handing over the flag to the family member and the pair then proceed to unfurl the flag that seemed in perfect condition. The meaningful gesture was a wonderful sign of respect to the fallen soldier’s family, providing them with some comfort, even after all these years. “The flag will be our treasure,” shared Yasue with the Washington Post, as reported by SBS.
Strombo’s act demonstrated not only his respect for life, but the importance of honoring the dead. His efforts allowed Yasue’s family to find some closure as well. “It’s like the war has finally ended and my brother can come out of limbo,” said Yasue.