An American Story
Glenn Stockdale joined the U.S. Army in 1942, was sent to the South Pacific and spent years fighting in the jungles of New Guinea and the Philippines. When he returned home he brought back a souvenir “good luck flag.”
Taking battlefield souvenirs was a tradition among soldiers of that era. Keeping a memento from the war helped to remind each soldier of their horrendous ordeal, sacrifice and valor. Glenn Stockdale proudly kept this flag until the day he died.
Upon his passing the Stockdale family respectfully honored their father and preserved the memory of his service to the nation, but they also recognized that these ‘battlefield souvenirs” were family heirlooms that were inscribed with the names of many relatives. Each one had been given to some young man by his loving family and friends.
Retaining possession of this personal family item did not seem to be an option. After much discussion among themselves the family decided to send the flag to OBON SOCIETY in hopes their researchers could find a way to send it back home in Japan.
OBON SOCIETY scholars analyzed and researched the available details, then searched throughout Japan. It was soon learned that the soldier who once carried this flag, Mr. Kishi, had been married in 1939 and he had two children before he was sent to war.
Deeper research led to this son and daughter, who were both astonished at the news. All they knew was that their father had been sent to New Guinea and never returned. No trace of him ever came back to Japan.
The Kishi family were so overwhelmed at this miracle return of their father’s only surviving remains that they wanted to share the news of their extraordinary luck to help spread awareness in America and in Japan. They gladly accepted a visit from the son of Glenn Stockdale, who would use the occasion to personally return their father’s flag.
This historic occasion — the son of an American soldier meeting the son and daughter of a Japanese soldier…was attended by government officials and media. Friendship, peace and reconciliation was the message they shared; there were very few who witnessed this encounter who did not cry tears of joy.
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