Two Minnesota stories offer a glimpse at how the power of a single object can help heal wounds that still linger even 70 years after war's end.
KARE 11's Boyd Huppert has the story of Doug Rachac, 39, of Blaine, Minn., whose grandfather Sgt. Al Frank served in World War II. He never spoke much about the time he spent in service during the war, KARE reports. But he did share with his grandson a few of the mementos he brought home: a canteen, a knife, an Army-issued sewing kit – and a Japanese flag he had taken from a fallen Japanese soldier, which was a common practice.
Frank, before his death, had hinted to his grandson that he thought the flag ought to be returned. So Rachac, after some Internet-sleuthing and with some help from Japanese-speaking co-workers, eventually found the Japanese soldier's family, and the flag was returned Saturday (KARE slideshow). "It's been a part of our family history for almost 70 years now," Rachac told KARE 11, "but it's not ours. It doesn't belong to us."
The Duluth News Tribune has the story of Constance Cowan, 87, of Duluth, and who recently received a dog tag that had belonged to her brother, Jimmy. He had been a prisoner of war during World War II and died in the Philippines, and the tag surfaced decades after the war on the island of Corregidor.
The News Tribune tells the story of the tag's long, unlikely route to Cowan in Duluth. The story's key figures are Steve and Marcia Kwiecinski, the only Americans living today on Corregidor, the newspaper reports. Cowan was a bit overwhelmed. “It takes time. Here’s a dog tag he actually touched. I never dreamed something like this could happen," she told the newspaper.