Separated by life, two lovers were finally able to find each other 70 years after losing sight of each other.
History shows that many people have seen their destiny shattered by the horrors of war .
And love stories are no exception when armed conflicts and their ramifications separate people who love each other, leaving souls inconsolable and haunted by the memory of an unfinished romance.
Duane Mann experienced this trauma by having to give up the one he loved.
He finally finds the love of his life, 70 years after their separation
A veteran of the army, this 91-year-old American was forced to leave the love of his life in 1953, because of his military commitment, and he will have spent the rest of his life trying to find her.
This story begins at the turn of the 1950s when Duane, a naval officer, was stationed in Japan , then occupied by the Americans since the end of World War II.
At the time, he was a young man of 22 and found himself assigned to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport, overseeing the Navy’s priority cargo there. At the same time, he also works as a repairman at the air force non-commissioned officers’ club in order to make ends meet.
In this establishment works a certain Peggy Yamaguchi, a beautiful Japanese woman with whom Duane quickly falls in love.
Love at first sight is then mutual and the two young lovebirds begin a relationship that becomes passionate. Very quickly, marriage becomes obvious to them.
But from 1952, the official date of the end of the American occupation in Japan, Duane could at any time be called back to the country and the couple would live with a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.
And what had to happen happened… In June 1954, the young man received his demobilization order which meant that he should return to the United States as soon as possible.
He complies, leaving behind him Peggy, alone and a few weeks pregnant.
“ When I took the plane, I left a very unhappy daughter who was shedding a lot of tears ”, says the veteran in a Facebook post, published on May 2, 2022.
Returning to his native Iowa, Duane will then do everything to try to repatriate the woman of his life and the child she is carrying in the United States.
But nothing will go as planned, because his father spent all his savings while he was in Japan.
The two lovers will nevertheless continue to write to each other with the mad hope of meeting again one day. But this correspondence will stop abruptly a few weeks later.
Without news of his dear and tender for three months, Duane will finally receive a letter from Peggy, transmitted by his sister. The contents of the missive will then break his heart.
“ In this letter, Peggy informed me that she had married a soldier and that she had lost the baby (…) It was then that I discovered that my mother had burned all of Peggy’s letters because she didn’t want me to marry a Japanese woman .
A moving reunion
“ Completely destroyed ”, Duane then rebuilt his life as best he could and ended up meeting a woman who made him happy and with whom he married and then founded a family. However, his happiness was constantly haunted by the memory of Peggy. The simple idea that the latter could believe that he had abandoned her was indeed unbearable to him.
For 70 years, guilt gnawed at the veteran who tried to reconnect with his first love, to no avail.
Last year, he tried one last time to find her, with the help of his son, by posting a search notice on Facebook.
And the magic of social networks worked very quickly since a week later, a Canadian researcher, touched by Duane’s message, undertook research and ended up finding an old newspaper article, dating from 1956, which mentioned of the new life of a Japanese immigrant residing in Michigan. This woman was none other than Peggy!
Shortly after her marriage, Peggy – still alive and today aged 91 – had indeed emigrated to the United States with her husband and the couple had started a family there with 3 children, one of whom bore the first name …Duane.
For decades, Duane and Peggy therefore lived in almost neighboring states, without knowing it.
Informed, Duane went to Michigan, accompanied by his son, to visit Peggy and the reunion was very moving.
70 years later, Duane was finally able to tell Peggy the truth and tell her that he had never abandoned her.
” It was really a moment of liberation ,” said the nonagenarian who is now at peace with himself.