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  1. #1

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    WWII Widow's 60 Year Mystery Solved

    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. #2

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    That poor lady.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club
    Old, lonely, pathos-hungry, and extremely gullible

  3. #3

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

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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. #5
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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....)

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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. #7
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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. #8

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    Oh my gosh. That poor woman. That's some serious devotion of hers.
    BARK LESS. WAG MORE.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    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.
    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.

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    This was their follow up story. You might need your tissues.

    French Town Still Honors American Pilot

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    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.
    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)?
    3539 and counting.

    Slightly Wounding Banana list cont: MacMadame.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    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.
    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. 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. #13

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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skipaway View Post
    This was their follow up story. You might need your tissues.

    French Town Still Honors American Pilot
    I think you may need the entire box.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    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. 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.
    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.

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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. #17

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    An update on CBS tonight:

    Apology from Congressman

    I would like to share some comments on a recent news story regarding Mrs. Peggy Harris.


    My office maintains a strict rule that all constituent communications and correspondence are kept completely confidential. We do not share the actual content of our files or comment on it under any circumstances out of respect for people's privacy and to protect personal information. There are no exceptions. We shared this policy with CBS verbally and sent them a written statement confirming the policy before the broadcast of last night's story. They chose not to include it.


    I can only say that in 2005 my office contacted various organizations on Mrs. Harris' behalf, following standard casework procedures. Conflicting information was sent back to Mrs. Harris and we did not do enough to come to a clear, final answer. I have sent her a personal apology for the mishandling of this sensitive matter and for any distress she has suffered as a result.

  18. #18
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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. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrr50 View Post
    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.
    Who is sneering at the family?
    3539 and counting.

    Slightly Wounding Banana list cont: MacMadame.

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