It all started with a dance … they met in the middle of the war and reunited 70 years later

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The young woman first caught Dwayne Mann’s attention with her impressive figures on the dance floor. Then came his sense of humor reflecting his humor and intellect. Mann has never seen anyone like him before.

The calendar showed 1953 and the last moments of the Korean War were being felt. Mann, 22, a sailor from Iowa, was part of U.S. forces stationed in Japan. He first operated an air supply depot in Yokosuka and then moved to an airport in Tokyo. And through a twist of fate, he fell in love with a woman he had met hundreds of miles away from his home.

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Duan Mann in Yokosuka in 1953.

That young woman named Peggy Yamaguchi was perfect in Mann’s eyes. “She was a very beautiful girl, very sensitive and kind. We had a lot of fun together,” Mann, now 91, told Yamaguchi. But the day came when Mann had to leave Japan. What happened next was that even the saddest love movies would turn to stone.

It all started with a dance

Mann and Yamaguchi first met at an officer’s home. Yamaguchi was the cloakroom attendant. Mann, on the other hand, worked as a mechanic and security guard in his spare time. Since Yamaguchi has taken English classes in the past, he has been a translator between local and American troops.

There was a live band that often performed at the officer’s house. “We started dancing with Peggy one evening after work,” Mann said.

After what has happened, has happened. In the words of the mind, “Oh my God! The girl was dancing beautifully”.

They start seeing each other every day. On most days, officers would not get off the floor until everyone in the house had left, and they would dance for hours to the tune of Elvis Presley and Tony Bennett, which was very popular in those years.

“People were standing around watching us. The more I held her in my arms, the more I fell in love,” Mann said of those days.

It all started with a dance ... they met in the middle of the war and reunited 70 years later

Peggy Yamaguchi

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The war is over, Mann has sent home

However, this relationship, which everyone envied, ended abruptly a year later. Because the expiration date of the standard was pushed forward and the young man was sent to the United States in a hurry.

“The Korean War was over, the army was crowded. They quickly began to deactivate people to cut costs,” Mann explained, explaining the reason for the U.S. Navy’s decision.

Yamaguchi was then 22 years old and carrying Mann’s baby.

The young couple has a plan. Mann will return to Iowa, take the money deposited in his bank account there, and return to Tokyo. Then he would take his girlfriend to the United States with this money.

“My intention was to marry her,” Mann said.

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But when he arrived at his home in Pisgah, Iowa, a huge surprise awaited. Her father spent all the money in her account. Apparently, Mann made the mistake of taking his father into account, thinking, “If I die in the war …”

“I didn’t have a penny left,” Mann told the Washington Post.

Mann’s mother intervened

On the one hand, the mind was trying to resolve the situation, on the other hand, the two lovers were trying to maintain the relationship by writing letters to each other. Mann started working on a highway construction business because it was the most lucrative job available at the time.

After a month of correspondence, Yamaguchi stopped responding to Mann. Mann found out the reason much later: his mother used to pick up and burn letters to his son before him because he did not approve of his son’s relationship with Yamaguchi. “He didn’t want me to marry a Japanese girl,” Mann said.

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Mann’s sister took one last letter from Yamaguchi and delivered it to her brother without noticing her mother. However, because of this letter, the quality of the family is broken. In the letter, Yamaguchi wrote that he had lost his child and married a U.S. Air Force officer in Wisconsin. “I’m bad,” Mann described his mood as he read these lines.

Strong guilt was born inside the young man. And that feeling did not give peace of mind for 60 years. “I was worried she would think I was leaving her,” Mann said.

Carrying his picture in the wallet for 70 years

In the years that followed, Mann founded a successful agricultural products company, married twice and gave birth to six children. However, Yamaguchi did not leave his mind.

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Mann, now a widow, carries two pictures of Yamaguchi in her wallet this time. He even tried to reach Yamaguchi from time to time, but his efforts were always in vain. “I wanted him to know that I was not abandoning him,” Mann said.

Mann posted a Facebook post on May 1 as a last resort to find Yamaguchi. Mann, who also posted a picture of Yamaguchi and told the whole story, said he was “very sorry for what happened.”

His friends, acquaintances and internet detectives were involved in the process with various recommendations. Then, a local news channel, KETV7, covered the event and helped spread the word of value to a wider audience.

Listen to Mann’s voice from Canada

So much so that Mann’s ordeal even caught the eye of a young woman living in Vancouver.

Theresa Wang, 23, of the History Channel, said: “I couldn’t help but notice what I saw. It was clear that Duan had been looking for the end for almost 70 years. I can’t imagine how much it would weigh. Put on one person.”

With the decision to join the search effort, Ong was lucky. Wong said, “I found his name, the names of his relatives. The pieces came together in a short time,” and first searched “Peggy Yamaguchi” on the Newspaper.com site. Hoping to find a wedding ad, he saw the news item titled “Tokyo Bride Satisfied with Her Life in Escanaba” and knew she was on the right track.

Wong shared his results on KETV7. The channel’s reporters soon found Yamaguchi’s posthumous title and his Michigan address. A reporter contacted Yamaguchi’s son, Rich Sedenquist.

Sedenquist, 66, was shocked to see the message from the reporter. But even then he showed Mann’s teenage pictures to his mother, Peggy Yamaguchi Sedenquist. Looking at the pictures, the woman remembered the value.

The dance hours were like yesterday

Yamaguchi Sedenquist told The Washington Post that he had deeply buried his memories of values, but when he looked at the photos, he suddenly felt like a young woman on that dance floor. The 91-year-old woman described her then-boyfriend as “handsome, tall and very honest”.

Yamaguchi Sedenquist, a mother of three who still lives in Escanaba with her husband, whom she married in 1955, was surprised to learn that Mann was calling her. Moreover, contrary to what Mann was worried about, Yamaguchi Sedenquist said he had no negative feelings towards his ex, adding, “I was very upset after he left Japan. But most of all, he was a soldier when he left. He had to go. “

Knowing that Yamaguchi Sedenquist is alive, Mann decides to meet face to face. Mann also had his 63-year-old eldest son Brian on the trip.

Brian and his siblings grew up with their father’s lost love story a few years ago. So they supported Mann’s desire to reunite with Yamaguchi Sedenquist.

“Will he let me hug him?”

The father and son took a 14-hour drive from Iowa to Michigan for the June 1 meeting. During the trip, Mann was excited. “Do you think he’ll let me hug him?” She asked her son in fear. He was asking.

However, when Yamaguchi saw Sedenquist, he realized that all his worries were in vain. “He got up and hugged me, kissed me repeatedly on the cheek,” Mann said.

The first thing Yamaguchi said to Sedenquist Mann was, “Do you remember dancing?” It happened.

Hour after hour they reminded me of the old days. Mann was shocked to learn that Mike Duan Sedenquist was the eldest son of Yamaguchi Sedenquist.

“It was really exciting,” said Mann, who now lives in Woodbine, Iowa. “It was a very special experience,” said Yamaguchi Sedenquist.

It all started with a dance ... they met in the middle of the war and reunited 70 years later

Ah, if we could do one last dance …

The families of the two also met and had a very enjoyable time together.

“I had some expectations about what it would be like, but it went even further than I thought it would,” said Brian Mann, while Rich Sedenquist said, “It was great. They’re pretty people.”

Mann said, “I hope my life will be faithful for a year or two so I can get to know them better,” and Yamaguchi told Sedenquist that he wanted more than anything else to be able to tell the truth. Mann added that at the end of 70 years, he had achieved this desire and found peace and added:

“Still, I’d be happy to dance with her again, even once.”

Compiled from an article in The Washington Post, “Tearing apart her first love in the Korean War, strangers helped her reunite.”

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