WWII Vet Takes Japanese Sword as War Trophy, Returns It to Ancestral Owners 68 Years Later


In 2020, the virtue of forgiveness is in short supply.

It seems as though every day a new individual is targeted for some sort of social transgression.

Anyone searching for a lesson on the power of forgiveness needs to look no further than the touching story of Marine Corps veteran Orville Amdahl.

Back in 2013, the 94-year-old from Lanesboro, Minnesota, made headlines when he forgave one of his enemies from the Second World War.

As a captain serving during the occupation of Japan in 1945, Amdahl was given special privileges, according to WCCO-TV in Minneapolis.

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One of those privileges, he told the outlet, was access to his choice of a “war trophy.”

Of the weapons available, Amdahl chose to take a Samurai sword from a Japanese soldier.

“I pulled mine out and almost fainted,” he said, “it was so beautiful.”

For 68 years, Amdahal held on to the sword, keeping it in pristine condition and showing it off to family and friends.

Then, suddenly, something changed for the Marine veteran.

He decided the sword should be returned.

Using the weapon’s wooden identification tags, Amdahl was able to trace its ownership and locate the grandson of the Japanese soldier, Tadahiro Motomura.

The two men then began exchanging letters back and forth.

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“I felt that this had a home and should be returned to it. It almost makes me and Motomura feel like brothers,” Amdahl told WCCO.

Both parties agreed that it was time for the sword to be returned to its rightful owner.

Then, on Sept. 21, 2013, the St. Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee held the “Return of the Sword Ceremony.”

“I am deeply touched by Mr. Amdahl’s decision to try and contact me and his honest devotion to the sword,” Motomura said at the event through a translator.

Upon meeting face to face, Amdahl and Motomura shook hands before sharing a long embrace.

The Minnesota man then returned the sword and cleared his conscience.

“Now we won’t have to worry about it,” Amdahl said, “it goes to its rightful place.”

Although it had been many decades since the 94-year-old veteran had served in Japan, he was still doing his best to bring peace.

“Peace is what we got to look for,” he said, “instead of embattlements all the time.”

Amdahl died in 2015, but his legacy won’t be forgotten.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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