Capt. James Bailey, a WWII bombardier who passed away in 2007 left his grandson Scott Bailey a strange war memento: a Japanese flag with foreign handwriting and smeared with blood. Now Scott, who also serves in the airforce, embarks on a quest to crack the flag’s mystery and bring it home to its owner.
James Basiley was just 20 years old when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served 42 missions, becoming an expert at using the Norden bombsight, a top-secret revolutionary bombing device. Like many veterans of his period, he held a grudge against the Japanese and refused to purchase any product manufactured by them. When he passed on the flag to his grandson, he left him with many unanswered questions.
But for Scott, the flag also became a symbol that time heals all wounds. Scott was stationed in Japan, saving lives and providing assistance, like when Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Over time, he also grew to love their culture, and a woman who would become his wife, Mayumi Oshiro, a daughter of an Okinawan police man. Through her, he learned that the flag is a hinomaru yosegaki, a good luck flag containing wishes and prayers of family and friends. Unfortunately, the writing seems to be Korean and referred to places that no longer exists. Scott and Mayumi continue to search for its owners. Failing that, they plan to donate it to a Japanese museum as a testament that, over time, people move on.
[ via Chicago Tribune ]
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