RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A long-lost treasure is now on exhibit at the Virginia War Memorial. The Omori Flag was created by Denny Landrum, a U.S. Sailor turned Prisoner of War During Word War II. During his time at Omori Prison Camp in Tokyo Bay, Landrum and several others stole bed sheets and colored pencils to make an American flag.
“They took a lot of chances doing it. They had to hide it,” says Jerry Landrum, Denny’s son. “If you could imagine, these people had been in prison camps for years they’ve endured punishments, tortures, depravations, starvations, but they sat down and made this knowing if they got caught at the very least they’d get punished if not executed.”
Landrum was liberated by U.S. Marines 29 months after he became a POW, and the Omori Flag was flying high. Its whereabouts remained a great mystery for Landrum until his death in 1980 and then the decades that followed for his family. Finally, a curator tracked it down in a DC warehouse and made arrangements for it to go on display at the Virginia War Memorial.
His grandson, Army Specialist Jason Landrum, was a part of today’s unveiling ceremony. “I never got to actually meet him. He died a couple of years before I was born so just to be able to see part of his legacy is unbelievable to me.”
The flag was recently restored and is on loan from the Naval History and Heritage Command. Jerry Landrum says the exhibit is a tribute to his father and all POW’s. “They don’t have an easy life and a lot of people don’t know what POW’s went through and this is one way to get the story out.”
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond