WWII Widow's 60 Year Mystery Solved

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by skipaway, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member

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    I saw this yesterday on CBS and was so moved by it. Thought I'd share. Very heartening and at the same time maddening.

    Widow's Story
     
  2. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    :( That poor lady.
     
  3. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member

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    CBS Evening news is having a follow-up story about the widow travelling to France.
     
  4. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting. What a handsome young couple they made. Glad she finally got her answers and ave a place to visit.
     
  5. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    I bet someone in that Rep's office is getting fired (they usually farm that sort of request out to staff or interns....)
     
  6. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    The representative's staffer was either lazy or incompetent, but surely the larger blame rests on the US military, who certainly ought to have helped this lady get some resolution sixty years ago, or any number of times since then.
     
  7. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    It's World War II. They were dealing with hundreds of thousands of dead bodies in multiple theaters, including hostile territory--if anything it's surprising this is apparently THAT odd an occurrence from that particular war. There are probably still unidentified remains at the lab in Hawaii (there DEFINITELY are from Vietnam.) Meanwhile (while, yes, the family should have just asked for the whole file already--*I* can get military files, with the only thing redacted the medical and autopsy reports) all the staff at the Rep's office had to do was ACTUALLY make a phone call, instead of blowing it off.
     
  8. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Oh my gosh. That poor woman. That's some serious devotion of hers.
     
  9. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    That's why I said 60 years. Enumerating the graves and grave stones in 1952 -- or anytime in the next twenty years after that -- should not have been too much to ask of the military given that the war ended in '45.
     
  10. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member

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  11. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    How did they not help? It sounds like she got conflicting information at the time. Sad and unfortunate but understandable in real time. Without knowing if she asked for help later (the article is unclear about that unless I'm overlooking something) I don't know if it's fair to say the military didn't help her. His death was recorded - it's in the National Archives and they get that kind of info from the military. How do you think it should have played out (particularly at a time when this was all without the benefit of computers)?
     
  12. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Yes, because the military had absolutely nothing else to do between 1945 and 2012 besides go around triple-checking thousands of graves scattered all over the world. :rolleyes: And at a certain point it wasn't the DoD any more anyway-the records passed to the NARA decades ago, as any military personnel files do at a certain point. Which, apparently, had the accurate location in the files all along, if ANYONE had bothered to request them.
     
  13. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    An amazing story; with an even more meaningful continuation.

    Kudos to Mrs Harris and the people of Normandy who continue to honor and remember these heroes.
    Thank you, Steve Hartman.

    RIP, 1st Lt. Billie Harris.
     
  14. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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  15. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    I happen to think that the military has an obligation to the families of MIA or deceased soldiers to give them accurate, and reasonably timely data. Someone in the military hierarchy should have gotten back to the soldier's widow with correct information long ago -- the initial story makes it sound like she made multiple requests. I wouldn't have expected someone from this lady's era to have the skills to do database searches. NARA has a lot of information, catalogued rather strangely and inconsistently. I use it for genealogy, and it is very, very challenging for me.
     
  16. mrr50

    mrr50 Well-Known Member

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    This family made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States. There are obligations to this family and sneering at this family and their sacrifice does not make things better or give a very good impression of those who sneer.
     
  17. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member

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    An update on CBS tonight:

    Apology from Congressman

     
  18. fluorescein

    fluorescein New Member

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    I don't understand how he could have been moved from a French cemetery to an American cemetery and no one from the US military thought to notify his widow. God bless the people of Les Ventes though for honoring him in his widow's absence.
     
  19. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    :rolleyes: Who is sneering at the family?