Reunions
Veteran has heartwarming reunion with long-lost love after 70 yrs of searching for her
Duane never wanted to lose contact with Peggy and made it his mission to find her. 70 years later, his dream finally came true.
Jenny Brown
04.12.23

He was afraid she thought he had abandoned her. That thought haunted 91-year-old Duane Mann for 70 years.

And he thought his first love Peggy Yamaguchi had given up on him.

Despite, this he never gave up hope and continued to search for his lost love.

But she never actually gave up on him first.

He later learned that his mother’s racism led her to destroy the letters Yamaguchi had written him.

Facebook Screenshot - Brian Mann
Source:
Facebook Screenshot - Brian Mann

Mann was 22 when met Yamaguchi in Yokosuka, Japan in 1954 when stationed there with the Navy.

Just after the couple found out they were going to have a child, the Navy sent Mann back to the U.S.

Mann had planned on returning to Japan as soon as possible so that he could marry Yamaguchi.

However, Mann’s father ended up spending all of Mann’s savings.

Facebook Screenshot - Brian Mann
Source:
Facebook Screenshot - Brian Mann

So, when Mann returned home from the Koren war he didn’t have the money to fly back to Japan.

Then the letters from Yamaguchi stopped coming.

Little did Man know that his mother was burning them. She didn’t want him to marry a Japanese girl.

But one last letter did come saying that Yamaguchi lost their baby and she had already married another.

Facebook Screenshot - Brian Mann
Source:
Facebook Screenshot - Brian Mann

“It was over, it set in that idea that I abandoned her, just wore me out,” Mann told KETV. “That’s not an honorable thing to do.”

But Mann never forgot about Yamaguchi over the years.

Eventually, he enlisted his son to help him track her down.

Mann assumed that his lost love was overseas in Japan.

Facebook Screenshot -Brian Mann
Source:
Facebook Screenshot -Brian Mann

But she was actually just 650 miles away in Michigan where she moved with her husband who served in the Navy.

With the help of his son, Mann’s story about his search for Yamaguchi went viral.

A 23-year-old History Channel researcher picked up Mann’s story and tracked Yamaguchi down after finding a 1956 article titled “Tokyo Bride Makes Life in Escanaba.”

Facebook Screenshot - Brian Mann
Source:
Facebook Screenshot - Brian Mann

“I feel like it cut me right to my soul,” said Theresa Wong of why she was determined to help Mann find Yamaguchi.

Mann’s son connected with Yamaguchi’s son and planned to have the two meet.

They were both extremely joyful to meet each other at a conference room at the Island Resort and Casino in Escanaba.

YouTube Screenshot - KETV NewsWatch 7
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - KETV NewsWatch 7

“I’m here to tell you that I didn’t abandon you at all. I just couldn’t find you,” Duane told Yamaguchi. “I cannot imagine carrying around that heartbreak for 70 years.”

He then pulled out photos he kept of her in his wallet for 70 years as an illustration of his devotion.

YouTube Screenshot - KETV NewsWatch 7
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - KETV NewsWatch 7

“Thank you for remembering and [saving] all the pictures, you must have loved me,” Yamaguchi said while embracing Mann in a hug.

Apparently, Yamaguchi’s affection for Mann remained as well because her son’s middle name is Duane.

Mann said that finally getting to tell Yamaguchi the truth was a “freeing experience” for him.

YouTube Screenshot - KETV NewsWatch 7
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - KETV NewsWatch 7

Mann’s son, Brian Mann, said this was very typical of his father who is a man that has always been a kind person.

He has also always followed his heart, and never feared stepping out of the box to do things others would not.

Isn’t this an unforgettable story?

The best part about this reunion is that you can watch it unfold int he the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jenny Brown
[email protected]
Jenny Brown is a senior writer at Shareably. She is based in San Francisco and can be reached at [email protected]
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