Historic WWII Japanese flag donated to National Park Service

A hand-sewn Japanese flag with a deep history to Hawaii was donated to the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument Thursday.

The flag once flew over the battleship Nagato, where Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto gave the order to attack Pearl Harbor.

After Nagato surrendered in Japan in August 1945, U.S. sailors from nearby ships were allowed to board and remove key pieces of memorabilia. U.S. Navy seaman Robert Hartman found Nagato’s flag.

Over the years, the wool red-and-white flag became a familiar item to Hartman’s family, sometimes even used as a blanket on cold winter nights.

Following Hartman’s death in 1999, the flag was passed on to his daughter, Dianne Hall, who traveled from North Carolina to present the flag to the National Park Service.

“(My father) went up into the crow’s nest and he said, ‘You would not believe how beautiful it was to be up there and seeing all these planes flying everywhere, just to see the ship being captured,'” she said. “I thought this has got to go somewhere. It cannot stay in a closet. It’s not going in a man’s cave. It’s got to go where it needs to go to be seen.”

The National Park Service says the flag is priceless, and there are no plans to display it anytime soon.



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