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Nampa man's quest to return wartime diary

Posted at 6:28 PM, Aug 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-16 20:50:38-04

NAMPA, Idaho — August 15th marks the 75th anniversary of the end of Word War Two. Victory over Japan otherwise known as V-J Day.
A Nampa man has spent a good portion of his adult life trying to find closure for something his father found at the end of the war.

The year was 1945, and the place was the Philippines. Ed Rekola's father, Arvo was on patrol when they came across several fallen Japanese soldiers, one of those soldiers Arvo assumed was a young boy because of his size. "He was sad for the boy, he found his scrap book, buried the boy and brought the diary back home. It was kept in his cedar chest until 1974 when he died.," said Rekola.

End of story, right? Not even close, because as Ed found out later, that young boy was a man of small stature. So now Ed has to do the right thing, and somehow get this diary back to family members in Japan, but how?
Through diplomatic channels he sent copies to Japanese officials who said we'll get back to you. Rekola said, "one year later I get a letter from the consulate General, we have found the family." Unfortunately according to the Japanese government, the family wanted no media coverage at all, so could the government just take care of it. Ed said no. "The Japanese Lt.Col. went to the Consulate General and said I want to help this man, they shut him down, and you have to send it back to the government without media attention.." Ed was skeptical that the Japanese government wasn't telling him the whole truth about finding any family members.

After the story ran in a local Seattle newspaper, a man who happened to be a private investigator said he could help. As a matter of fact, the investigator's contacts in Japan, said they found a daughter. "He approached the daughter and says we have someone in the United States that wants to return your father's scrap book. He was M.I.A. They never knew what happened to him." Whether the daughter had put that part of her life behind her or simply just didn't want it, Ed's lifelong quest was at the end of the line. He came to the conclusion he may never know.

Ed says he gave it the old college try and it didn't work, but at least he tried. "Like they say even if you finish last, you still finished, my dad used to say that." And if Arvo Rekola was still with us, he would probably tell his son, well done Ed, well done.