On the black sand beaches of Iwo Jima, 18-year-old Marty Connor stood over the body of a dead Japanese soldier. The young U.S. Marine figured it was only a matter of time before he suffered the same fate.
But he didn't dwell on it and he didn't ponder whether the enemy had a family, a hometown, or a name. Instead, he reached into the dead soldier's pack and grabbed his diary. Then he moved on to another body.
Little did he know then that this was a moment that would change his life; that he would spend 40 years reuniting such war souvenirs with surviving relatives of the dead enemy soldiers.
"A lull in the fighting, you scavenge around a little bit," said the now 85-year-old Connor at his home in upstate New York. "In the helmet, you'd find pictures of his family...so I took things like that, just stuck them in my pack."
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