Seventy-three years ago an American soldier, Marvin Strombo, became separated from his unit in Garapan and found himself very close to the Japanese front line. He stumbled upon the body of a young Japanese man lying on his side as if he was peacefully taking a nap.

Marvin discovered that the soldier was actually dead, so he searched his body and took a flag that the man was carrying.

Entire villages would write their names and encouraging messages on their nation’s flag¬†then give it to soldiers heading off to war. It was common practice for allied troops to take these flags from deceased Japanese.

Americans would take these flags back home and auction them off or keep them as souvenirs. But Marvin felt guilty for taking the flag. He never auctioned it off; eventually putting it in his glass-front gun cabinet in his home in Montana.

It stayed there for awhile as a conversation piece whenever he had guests over. Then in 2012, he was connected with Obon Society. This organization’s main goal is to connect WWII veterans and their families to return heirlooms and souvenirs.

Obon Society turned around and connected Marvin with the family that the flag belonged to: the Yasue family. The beautiful symbol was covered in the calligraphy of 180 neighbors from the Yasue’s home village of Higashishirakawa.

Sado Yasue via obonsociety.org

Back in 1943, the Yasue family had a small farewell picnic for the eldest brother, Sado. They ate traditional Japanese foods such as sushi and sweet mochi. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to them at the time, this would be the last chance they would have to share a meal with their big brother.

Around a year later, the family received a box with a couple stones in it. The Japanese government used this to represent the soldier that was lost at war if a body could not be recovered.

That was all they ever received regarding their brother. A couple rocks in a wooden box. No word on how he died, where he died, or what ever happened to the body.

When Marvin came in contact with Obon Society, he told them that he had been determined his entire life to find out who the flag belonged to and hand deliver it to them. The Society wasn’t going to argue with him and they set up the trip.

When he finally gave the flag back to the remaining siblings he could see just how much this gesture meant to them. Tatsuya, Sado’s younger brother, buried his face into the flag, taking in its scents. Then he took the American veteran’s hands in his own and kissed them.

Sado’s sister Sayoko just covered her face and wept as Tatsuya placed the flag on her lap. Marvin said that watching her made him want to cry.

Tatsuya Yasue and Marvin Strombo

At the same time, he is very happy that he returned the flag to the ones who should have it. He always wanted to have that opportunity every since he first took it, but that was for different reasons. Now he was able to personally see the closure that the flag gave to them. He was able to tell them that when he found Sado’s body, he was lying peacefully on his side. They were comforted to hear that no visible wounds were present which leads Marvin to believe he died from the concussion of a mortar.

He told them that when he found Sado’s body, he was lying peacefully on his side. They were comforted to hear that no visible wounds were present which leads Marvin to believe he died from the concussion of a mortar.

Marvin gave them the closure they so desperately wanted for so many years.

It’s a heartwarming story of two groups who should have been enemies coming together as humans.¬†

Article via: ABC.GO.COM