POW Flag, missing for 45 years now on display in Richmond - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

POW Flag, missing for 45 years now on display in Richmond

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Wednesday was a day one Chesterfield man and his family will never forget.

We were there last summer as Jerry Landrum and his family first laid eyes on a flag with incredible historic significance. It was made by Jerry's father and fellow prisoners with a bed sheet and colored pencils at the Omori prison camp in Japan during World War II.

It was immortalized in an iconic photo featuring Jerry's dad holding it high in the air as the camp was liberated. It took 45 years for to find the flag and for the first time it is on display for everyone to see.

For nearly fifty years, the Landrum family had a goal.

"After so many years and so many times, I was about ready to give up," said Jerry Landrum. 

 It was a goal that seemed impossible.

"Every once and a while you'd get a little hope and then you'd say "oh well somebody tossed it out with the trash again," he recalled.

But despite those setbacks, Landrum- never gave up on his father Denny's dream of bringing that flag home.  He found the flag in the US Navy Archives last year-the next step was to get it on display.

"The flag is not here because of me, I'm here because of the flag," said Landrum. "That is the story."

We took that story to Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) who cut through Washington red tape to allow the Navy to loan the precious artifact to the Virginia War Memorial.

Warner hopes the flag will be a reminder of Virginia's contribution to the greatest generation.

"The kind of commitment to American ideals that kept these POWs in what was obviously some very horrific conditions makes us again realize that freedom is not free," Warner said.

It was that commitment that sustained Jerry Landrum during those times when it appeared the flag would never be found.

"Unless I knew for sure that it was gone," he said.  "It was going to be out there someplace."

And with his father's story always fresh in his mind, Jerry never quit.

The reason that flag is now in Richmond, a lesson in never giving up.

The flag is absolutely stunning in person and is now available now to see at the Virginia War Memorial.

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