world war II

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Get ready to hear a lot of World War II memories over the next two weeks: The milestone 75th anniversary of D-Day is coming up on June 6. Pilots from the Pacific Northwest aboard a historic plane have arrived in the United Kingdom to take part in a reenactment of the invasion of Normandy.

After wowing veterans and heads of state on the ground below in France, the plane and its Northwest crew will fly onward to Germany to participate in Berlin Airlift commemorations. The double-dose of 20th century history has meaning for crew members, most of whom weren't born yet when it happened.

Oban Society

A World War II veteran from the Inland Northwest traveled to a village in rural Japan Tuesday to personally return a "good luck flag" he picked up from the body of a fallen Japanese soldier on the Pacific island of Saipan in the summer of 1944.

"Taking the flag kind of bothered me because it is so special,” said Marvin Strombo, 93.

Obon 2015

A pair of World War II veterans from the Pacific Northwest and their escorts will return 70 inscribed Japanese flags Tuesday directly to the prime minister of Japan.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Seven Pacific Northwest veterans of World War II leave for Tokyo Thursday. They're carrying 70 captured Japanese flags to return for the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Living witnesses to the forced relocation of West Coast Japanese-Americans during World War II are growing fewer every year. Many who were incarcerated are in their 80s and 90s now.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Some aging veterans of World War II are embarking on one more mission. The object is to return Japanese flags taken as war souvenirs from Pacific battlefields.

On D-Day, Oregon Dedicates World War II Memorial

Jun 6, 2014
Office of the Governor

In Oregon, D-Day meant the dedication of a long-awaited memorial honoring World War II veterans. Hundreds turned out for a ceremony Friday on the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Western Europe.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

June 6 is the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Western Europe. And this year’s D-Day will be especially meaningful for World War II veterans in Oregon as the state's long-awaited World War II Memorial will open on that day.

A collector of World War II memorabilia has succeeded in a daunting quest thanks to help from the Japanese government. The veteran from Clarkston, Washington has found the right person to receive a Japanese war flag taken in battle nearly 70 years ago.

Years ago, memorabilia collector George Koller bought an inscribed "good luck flag." It originally belonged to a Japanese fighter pilot killed in combat. Last year, Koller asked the Japanese consulate in Seattle for help to give the flag back.

Wednesday will mark the 67th anniversary of the Japanese surrender to end World War Two. With each passing anniversary, there are fewer and fewer living witnesses to the event. Time is also running low for an aging U.S. Marine veteran who wants to return a captured Japanese war flag.

Ex-U.S. Marine George Koller of Clarkston, Washington collects war memorabilia. Among his possessions is an inscribed "good luck flag" carried into battle by a Japanese fighter pilot. The airman's plane crashed into the jungle of New Guinea late in World War II.