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On a mild December night in the city of Okinawa, Bruce Lieber, a 61-year-old Ohio native, found himself surrounded by a cluster of Japanese journalists. Photographers and TV crew jostled for position while reporters asked him how it felt to be back on the island.

Lieber had been answering their questions for over an hour, when he suddenly fell silent. Gazing at the weather-worn buildings, he rubbed his eyes and broke into a bemused smile as though remembering the last time he was standing on this very same corner in the city then called Koza.

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