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The Homefront, Then and Now

Forty Hard Miles to Freedom

Anyone wanting to reach Spain from France faces a wall of mountains that reaches up more than 11,000 feet. Its passes are few and high. To traverse its steep, rocky 40-mile base on foot challenges even strong young men. Today’s hikers are advised it is a four-day trek that should be tried onlyby fit walkers in good weather, with a knowledgeable guide, and of course, in daylight.

Allied airmen and others trying to escape Nazi-occupied France in the early 1940s had no such luxurious choices. Be they escaped prisoners of war, shot-down airmen, Jewish and other persecuted minorities destined for death camps, or Frenchmen ordered to forced labor camps in Germany, they could take the trail only in secrecy at night, in every kind of weather, with whatever clothing and food they could scrape together. And to find the necessary guide, they had to risk asking locals for help. Knowing they risked their lives – perhaps their family’s lives – by helping, some locals turned the fugitives over to the Germans. Only a few were courageous enough to risk everything and start those escaping on their way.

On the other side of the Pyrenees lay neutral Spain, the domain of Fascist— and friend to Hitler— General Francisco Franco, and the probability of spending some months in one of his odious prisons before being released for ransom. Yet, this uncertain outcome was a better risk than the known evils of life under Hitler.

Nazi checkpoints were frequent; their patrols could appear any time or place. To add to the risk, escapees had a recurring need for a new guide. Locals were under the German eye; they dared not disappear for four days at a time. Escapees had to trust another guide could get free to take them on up the next day’s trail. And, after November of 1942, when the Allies launched their invasion of German-held North Africa, the Germans tightened their control of the border. Arrests multiplied; trails were discovered; many of the shepherds, forestry workers, hunters and smugglers who had acted as guides were caught and executed or sent to concentration camps.

The Allies responded by establishing better, more secret, routes. Britain, Belgium, Holland, and the French resistance all worked to pass not only men but military information over the mountains. Although half of the 2,000 known guides perished during their service, 3,000 men, women and children successfully escaped the Nazi noose by crossing the Pyrenees. Of those, some 800 were Allied airmen. Their successful trek on the Trail to Freedom is commemorated every year, often by descendants of the original trekkers seeking to understand what their ancestors endured and honor the strength and courage that earned them their freedom. Freedom they quickly used to get back into the fight against the Axis powers.

The Freedom Trail Association was formed after the president of France officially recognized the trail’s significance in 1994. The association holds an annual commemorative hike the second week of July on one trail in the center of the Pyrenees. It is the longest and most difficult route, but was the most used because its difficulty made it hardest for the Germans to patrol. The association also has a museum in Saint-Girons, France. Both hike and museum are open to the public. For more information see http://chemindelaliberte.fr/page-accueil/the-freedom-trail? Please see www.pyreneesmountainadventure.com to see more photos and information on traveling to the area. Read More 
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"I had to fight like hell for the right to fight for my country!"

Tech Sgt. Ben Kuroki earned three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and Air Medal with 5 Oak Clusters, and, in 2005, a Distinguished Service Medal for his stellar record in combat for his cournty.
In early 1942, US Army recruiting offices across the country were swamped with volunteers. But when Nebraska-born Ben Kuroki and his brother, Fred, tried to enlist at the recruitment office in North Platte, Nebr., nearest to their family farm, they were immediately rejected. It had nothing to do with the boys’ health—everything to do with their Japanese heritage.

Determined to fight for their country, they traveled a hundred miles farther to present themselves at the Grand Island, Nebr. office, which took them in without question, and they became two of the very first Nisei (second-generation Japanese) to be accepted into the US Army Air Corps. After basic training, 25-year-old Ben was told Japanese-Americans could not serve overseas. He was assigned to the 93rd Bombardment Group in Florida.

Still determined prove his loyalty by taking part in the fight, Ben petitioned his commanding officer and was permitted to go to England and work as a clerk for the Eighth Air Force. Desperate for gunners, the air force opened aerial gunner training to volunteers, and in two weeks Ben was manning a top turret gun on a B-24 Liberator bomber and flying missions over Europe. After a crash landing in Morocco, and a stint in Spanish prisons, he rejoined his squadron, and took part in the dangerous, low-level raid on Hitler’s Ploesti oil refinery in Romania. He eventually completed the 25 raids required of enlisted men. But brother Fred was still stuck stateside; Ben asked to fly more raids in his name. He passed a special medical exam that allowed him five more missions. On completion of the thirtieth, during which he suffered a slight wound, he finally was sent home for rest and recuperation.

Once home, the army sent him to Japanese-American internment camps to urge internees to join the fight, but while he was a hero to some, others despised him for helping the government that was holding them prisoner. With the Pacific theater still engulfed in fierce fighting, Ben petitioned the war department to let him fly missions there. No Japanese-Americans were permitted, but eventually Secretary of War Henry Stimson gave Sergeant Ben Kuroki special permission, and he flew 28 more combat missions, the only Japanese American to fly in combat in the Pacific during World War II. He flew on a B-29 Super Fortress that the crew named “Sad Saki” in his honor, a pun on the common “Sad Sack” sobriquet of the day, giving it an ethnic twist to honor their unique crewman. His other nickname - Most Honorable Son.

Kuroki was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses, as well as the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters for his missions flown in Europe. He was discharged in 1946 and began what he called his 59th Mission: fighting prejudice and discrimination. He earned a BA in journalism at the University of Nebraska, and worked for several newspapers before retiring in 1984. His outstanding combat record spanning Africa, Europe and the Pacific was finally recognized in 2005 with a Distinguished Service Medal. The University of Nebraska awarded him an honorary doctorate, and PBS created a documentary, Most Honorable Son: Ben Kuroki’s Amazing War Story, which aired in 2007, when he was 90. There are also two biographies of Kuroki and his story is included in several histories.
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You want shoes? You got stamp #17?

Another poster, portraying a GI, urged "Do with less, so they'll have enough." The great majority of Americans voluntarily followed the rules.
In 1941, 97% of the country's supply of raw rubber came from the Philippine Islands in the western Pacific. The Japanese invaded the Philippines on Dec. 1, and bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec.7. On Dec. 11th, the U S government announced that rubber was rationed; civilians could no longer buy tires. What's more, if anyone owned more than five tires, they were to turn the extras over to their just-created, 3-person, volunteer Tire Ration Board for a token payment.

On Jan. 1, 1942, the War Production Board ordered an end to new car production for civilians. Automobile plants turned to producing tanks, aircraft and weapons. By June, production of bicycles, typewriters, radios, refrigerators, washing and sewing machines, vacuums, office furniture and alarm clocks ceased. Drivers had to paste a gasoline sticker on their windshield. Most people got "A" stickers, allowing 3-4 gals a week. "B," with its 8 gallons weekly, went to the military industry; "C" to doctors and essential workers; "T" to truckers and "X" to civil defense, police, firemen and ministers. The nation-wide Victory Speed Limit was set at 35 miles per hour.

By then, citizens had received War Ration Book No. 1. Each family member had a book full of small red or blue stamps the grocer required before they could purchase the half pound of sugar they were allowed each week. Red stamps were required for meat, cheese, milk, lard, shortening, oil, butter (which disappeared) and margarine,(which was white and had to be hand-colored with a capsule of garish yellow dye). Losses of Brazilian cargo ships to Nazi U-boats made coffee stamps necessary in November of 1942. One pound had to last five weeks. In 1943, shoppers had to present blue stamps for all canned, bottled, frozen, and dried foods . By now, ration boards were meeting nightly to hear emergency appeals.

Of course having the stamps did not mean products were on the shelves. Grocers took to putting up signs advising, "Blame Hitler, Tojo and Benito, not us!" It was early 1943 when shoes were rationed. There was one stamp #17 for each person. Adults half-soled, parents handed down, and more than one kid patched a hole with cardboard until another stamp became useable.

In that day of pin curls, bobby pins disappeared, as did nylon stockings. Cigarettes, candy, gum, safety pins, elastic, garden hose, batteries, flashlights, fountain pens, tools, toys, and toilet paper were scarce. Hoarders were subject to fines or jail; they were few. Most people decided to grin and bear it "for the duration," which lasted into 1946 . People celebrated when goods began to come back on the market, and many people tucked their Ration Book No 4 away for a remembrance, and for an example for grandchildren, born into an age of excess, how the American people can respond when their country needs them. Read More 
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Enemy Aliens Interned in Special Camp in Texas

German internees, working on a volunteer basis and paid 10 cents per hour, build the camp swimming pool. To comply with Geneva Convention requirements, each nationality had to have equal access to recreational facilities.
When Japanese bombs rained down on Pearl Harbor on that peaceful Sunday morning in 1941, the United States was suddenly at war. Nearly everyone was caught off guard. Overnight, German, Italian, and Japanese nationals living in the United States for diplomatic, military or business reasons became enemy aliens. And Americans living in those countries abroad likewise found themselves caught in the wrong country at the wrong time.

There was instant worry in the U.S. about what harm these aliens, who numbered in the thousands, might cause; they could be spies; they could be saboteurs, possibly with plots already in motion. It was up to officials at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Department of Justice to detain these unwanted visitors where they could not harm the nation until they could be exchanged or repatriated.

And there were known German sympathizers in South America. There were many Japanese in Peru. A new phrase came into being: hemispheric security. The U.S. government negotiated with several Latin American countries: they could ship their aliens to the U.S., where they would be confined until being exchanged for American diplomats and citizens stranded overseas.

But confined where? As it happened, the Farm Security Administration had erected a camp for migrant workers 110 miles south of San Antonio near the small town of Crystal City, Texas. Containing forty-one 3-room cottages, 118 1-room huts and and some administration buildings, it was available. German internees arrived in December. Japanese from the West Coast came in March of 1943. In many cases, the man of the family had been arrested first, and the rest of the family asked to join him in Crystal City.

The camp, made up largely of cottages, was more suitable to family life than other camps where Japanese were interred. There was running water, a kitchen and a bathroom with shower in each cottage. To satisfy the requirements of the Third Geneva Convention, the Germans and Japanese were placed in individual sections. The German section had a bakery, mess hall, and school. The Japanese area included a Japanese School, a citrus orchard, tennis courts, a football field. Both had community centers, canteens, took turns in the newly built swimming pool and had access to a hospital. Almost all of the children were American born, and the American School provided the basic programs that were required of Texas schools.

But they did not have freedom. A ten-foot fence, augmented by guard towers and floodlights surrounded the camp. A mounted guard patrolled the perimeter. Vehicles entering or leaving were searched. All mail was censored. The camp grew exponentially, and housing units were increased until they held 3,326 in 1945. Because some people resisted being repatriated to a country they had never known, they eventually gained permission to stay in the U.S. ,and final closure occurred on Nov. 1, 1947.  Read More 
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He Told of Brave Men

If cartoonist Bill Mauldin spoke to the GIs, (see blog post Jan. 2014) it was Ernie Pyle who brought the battlefront to the home front. Before the war, Ernie had spent seven years as a roving travel writer for the Washington Daily News and the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain. His trade mark was human interest stories, told with a self-depreciating wit. But his beat and his audience widened significantly in December 1940 when he traveled to England and began covering the Battle of Britain.

Distributed by United Features, his columns, were then carried by 42 newspapers. By 1943, his numbers were up to 122 papers that reached into nine million homes. His by-line was known all over the country, but not because he wrote of campaigns and battle strategies. At 43, the smallish, grey-haired, balding writer chose to bunk with the troops and experience the war right along with them. In November of 1943, he shipped out with American troops headed for the invasion of North Africa, and began to tell about the GIs’ war.

He wrote of the GIs’ response to hungry Arab kids, of the red, clay soil that rain turned into gumbo, of the cold, the endless waiting, of the fear. He told of the boys’ hometowns, giving names and addresses. Of the pets they managed to get and keep. Of the whiskers they grew. How they kept saying, “If the folks could only see me now!” Later, when the Germans counter-attacked, he wrote of the “clank of a starting tank, the scream of a shell through the air, the ever-rising whine of fiendishness as a bomber dives….You don’t know—can never know without experiencing it—the awful feeling of being shot at by speeding enemy planes.”

His book, Here is Your war, published in 1943,concluded with the North African victory, and he wrote “That is our war, and we will carry it with us as we go on from one battleground to another until it is all over, leaving some of us behind on every beach, in every field.” Pyle moved on with the troops until there was a final victory in Europe. His account of that theater, titled Brave Men was published in 1944, and he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. Then he hurried to the battlefields of the Pacific.

On April 18, 1945, he was killed by enemy machine-gun fire on the island of Iegima, northeast of Okinawa. The infantry troops erected the temporary monument, above, which was later recreated in stone. A B-29 bomber was named in his honor, and his name is memorialized in scholarships, schools, libraries, a highway, park, and historic sites. He is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on Oahu. He ended Brave Man with the hope, "All of us together will... reassemble our broken world into a pattern so firm and so fair that another great war cannot soon be possible." Read More 
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Nightengales Storm the Beaches

After taking part in the invasion of North Africa, an Army nurse in Morocco washes clothes in her helmet.
Among the 40,000 troops wading onto North Africa beaches the morning of Nov. 8, 1942, were 57 nurses who would staff the US Army’s 48th Surgical Hospital. The Allied troops who made up Operation Torch, the first Allied attempt at an amphibious invasion, would learn many hard lessons; the nurses crowded into the landing crafts were no exception.

Wearing life jackets, 26 lb. backpacks, and each carrying 15 lbs. of medical equipment, many were forced to wade or swim ashore when their landing craft capsized or stopped short of the beach. They spent the day huddled in a shack. It was nearly midnight when word came that a battalion aid station a few miles away in the town of Arzew was desperate for help with casualties. Lieutenants Ruth Haskell, Edna Atkins and Marie Kelly were ordered to report there for duty.

In an old, dirty building rife with rats and broken windows, without running water, and in an operating room lit by one bare bulb and flashlights, they set to work. The doctors had one scalpel, one pair of surgical scissors, a few clamps among them. They had no gowns, no gloves, no masks, no anesthesiologist. Using educated guesses about proper dosage, the nurses administered ether. They used thread from their sewing kits for sutures, then alcohol-soaked strands of their long hair. They ignored sniper fire which constantly pierced the blackout curtains. It was 48 hours before relief arrived. By then they had treated 480 casualties.

In the next months, the nurses moved with the troops, often too close to the front to light a cigarette. They were forced to move their hospital three times in eight days as the Germans counterattacked, treating terribly burned tank crews and the devastating wounds and amputations resulting from land mines. The 48th’s ten operating tables were in constant demand. Nurses worked 18- and 24-hour shifts.

The Germans surrendered in early May, 1943. Concluding that the 48th Surgical Hospital was not equipped to handle the casualties it received, the army converted it to the 128th Evacuation Hospital. The nurses of the 48th remained with the 128th and followed the troops into Sicily in July.

Nurses were never again part of an invading force, but before the invasion of France, they were sent to England to share their hard-won battlefield experience with medical units who would serve in Normandy. They joined the troops on Utah Beach on D-day plus 5, among the first nurses to arrive in France, and they cared for the wounded for the remainder of the war in Europe.

Evacuation Hospitals also served in the Pacific Theater; nurses worked on airplanes, ships, and trucks and contributed significantly to the low mortality rate among American wounded. Sixteen nurses died as a result of enemy fire; the Axis did not always respect the red crosses that marked their venues. In all, 201 nurses died while serving during the war. But their success under difficult conditions demonstrated their abilities to society, and established them as newlyrespected professionals in the field of medicine.

For further information see www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/72-14/HTML.
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" I have the Coffee On!"

Some of the 1943 North Platte Canteen officers display ham sandwiches prepared for the boys in uniform. Helen, General Chair; Mayme, Kitchen Chair; Jessie, Secretary; Edna, Supplies Buyer, and Opal, Platform Girls Chair, are among the hundreds of women who fed the troops day and night.
In Not to be Forgiven, Sis and her mother give up some of their scarce food and make sandwiches for the North Platte Canteen. Why did North Platte, population 12,000, need food from Hiram Springs and scores of other towns across Nebraska? North Plate’s geographic location, on the Union Pacific Railroad’s main line near the center of the country, led the town to carve a remarkable place in USA Home Front history.

It started as a fluke. Ten days after Pearl Harbor, some women in North Platte heard a troop train carrying boys from Company D of the Nebraska National Guard would pass through town on their way to the west coast. Realizing boys in their late teens headed for war would probably be scared and homesick, they decided to make them feel better by meeting the train with baskets full of cookies, cakes, gum and cigarettes. But when the train finally arrived, the fledgling Company D turned out to be from Kansas. Of course, the Kansas boys gladly gobbled up the goodies.

However, 26-year-old Rae Wilson knew a good idea when she saw one. The next day, she wrote the North Platte paper and proposed establishing a canteen for all the soldiers passing through town. Everyone wanted to help the war effort; this was one thing they could do. By Christmas day, a canteen committee was at work, passing our snacks and small gifts to passing troops. The UP’s steam locomotives had to take a 10-minute stop for water in North Platte, which allowed the servicemen time to run in for a bite to eat and bit of mothering.

But first the committee had to set up a system. With troop train movements a military secret, UP special agents had to notify Wilson when to be ready to serve. She, in turn, would call her committee, saying, “I have the coffee on!” At first, they fixed the food at the Cody Hotel and stored it in a maintenance shed. But Wilson quickly persuaded the UP president (a hometown boy) to let the townspeople turn the vacant UP station lunchroom into a canteen. By Jan. 1, 1942, troops in transit were discovering the North Platte Canteen offered them 10-minutes of home.

At the peak of the war, there were 125 canteen committees active in and around Nebraska. Every person involved was a volunteer. With food strictly rationed, families from all over the state prepared and donated enough food to serve between 3,000 and 5,000 service people each day, every day of the year. And those days began at 5 am and often stretched to midnight. Surprised GIs enjoyed birthday cakes, coffee, sandwiches, magazines, and sometimes music and dancing.

By April of 1946 when it closed, the canteen had served six million military personnel. The end of passenger trains doomed the depot to the wrecking ball in 1973, but bricks from the depot were formed into a historical marker at its site. And decades after the war,countless servicemen remembered how grateful they were for the warm welcome they received in this small town in the middle of the plains of Nebraska. Read More 
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Four-legged Heroes Join the Fight

United Stated Marine Corps Devil Doberman pinschers training to disembark from a landing craft in 1943.
When Hiram Springs grocer Jacob Hermann gave Schnoz to the K-9 Corps in Not to be Forgiven, his action was echoed by thousands of his countrymen. They had perhaps a less intense need to demonstrate their patriotism than Jacob, but all wanted to give their quickly mobilizing country another weapon to use against the Axis.

Just weeks after Pearl Harbor, the American Kennel Assoc. teamed with a group called Dogs for Defense and called for the country’s dog owners to donate quality animals to the Army’s Quartermaster Corps. There had been dogs used in the trenches of World War I, but post-war the program had been discontinued. On March 13, 1942, the Secretary of War authorized the Quartermaster General to induct dogs into the new war effort. In August, thousands of dogs arrived, all shapes and sizes, at the first War Dog Reception and Training Center in Front Royal, VA. Dog owners from every state in the nation gave up their pets: civilian trainers volunteered their services. That fall, a K-9 Quartermaster Corps training center was established at Fort Robinson, Nebr.

At first, 30 breeds were accepted; later that was narrowed to five: German Shepherds, Belgian Sheep Dogs, Doberman Pinschers. Farm Collies, and Giant Schnauzers. Quartermaster Corps instructors trained dog handlers, mostly quartermaster troops, and basic training included exposure to gun muzzles, gas masks, gunfire and riding in vehicles. Once dogs mastered the basics they were chosen for specialized training for duty as sentry, scout/patrol, messenger or mine-detector dogs. Seven platoons of 18 dogs served in Europe and eight in the Pacific.
The dogs provided excellent service. Patrols led by scout dogs were never fired upon without warning.

A German Shepherd named Chips, who became famous, began his service in North Africa with the 3rd Infantry. Later, in the battle for Italy, he broke away from his handler to attack a German machine gun nest. Although wounded, he continued his attack, forcing the entire crew to surrender. He briefly held the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart, but the medals were revoked because of military policy against decorating animals.

Dogs continue to serve with American Special Operations Forces (SOF) today. Over 2,000 serve around the world, 600 in combat. In 1994, a war dog memorial was erected in the War Dog Cemetery on Guam to honor dogs who fought in the South Pacific. In 2013, a life-size bronze statue of a service dog was dedicated to honor all SOF dogs in service. It stands, surrounded by pavers engraved with information about each dog that gave its life while serving, at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC, hear Fort Bragg.  Read More 
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"Get in the Scrap"

The buffalo head that long-welcomed travelers on the Union Pacific RR to Nebraska takes a last ride to the scrap pile.
Today we collect cans to save resources and the atmosphere. In 1942, we collected cans to save soldiers’ lives and our democracy.

Scrap metal drives were not a whimsical idea invented to get American citizens involved in the war effort. They were created in the summer of 1942 to keep the nation’s newly organized “war machine” from running on empty. War equipment requires steel; fifty percent of the molten steel needed for trucks, tanks, ships, planes and shells needed to be made up of scrap metal. By June, the steel mills scrap bins were empty. Production slowed – even stopped at some plants.

Everyone knew of the critical shortage. Newspapers, including Henry Doorly’s Omaha World Herald, were writing articles and editorials about it. The War Department warned that we would lose the war without more armaments. But, Doorly fretted to his wife Dorothy, nothing was happening! “Well, Henry,” she said, “What are you doing about it?” After some thought, what he did was sponsor a contest: a widely publicized, three-week, state-wide challenge to find out which community could collect the most scrap metal on a per-person basis.

Nebraskans got to work. They emptied basements and garages and alleys, scoured fields for old farm equipment, searched rural areas by plane, dragged Civil War cannons out of parks, sacrificed bikes and trikes, washtubs and roasters, pumps and wheels and pails. Corporations joined in and let some employees work full-time collecting scrap. The Burlington and Union Pacific Railroads competed, with the UP giving up a huge buffalo head that had welcomed travelers crossing the Missouri River to Nebraska since 1888. Daily tallies sparked competition; drivers gave up their car bumpers, brides asked guests to bring gifts of old metal. When it was over, Nebraska’s 1.3 million people had collected 67,000 tons of scrap metal. Rural, isolated Grant County, whose patriotic citizens turned in 637 pounds for each man, woman and child, won the day, but the important winner was the war effort.

The War Department took notice. Doorly was invited to Washington, D.C., and in September the “Nebraska Plan” went national. U.S. citizens gathered 5 million tons in three weeks. The steel mills went back to work.and equipment rolled off the assembly lines. These drives continued through most of the war, as the defense industry, running day and night, turned people’s castoffs and keepsakes into weapons that eventually enabled our troops to win the war. Read More 
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A Promise Fulfilled

Find This Heart a Home
You may have read the touching story about how Pvt. Thomas Bateman’s Purple Heart was returned to his family 69 years after he died fighting to free the Philippines during World War II. The happy ending required the dedication of three men: Thomas McAvoy, who had found Bateman’s Purple Heart in a Chicago apartment house basement and had been looking for its owner for years, John Trinca, who had held Bateman in 1945 as he died and always wanted to share his experience with the private’s family, and Zachariah Fike, who made the connection possible.

Fike is a captain in the Vermont National Guard. He has deep military roots. His grandfather served in the Philippines in the 1940s; his father is a Vietnam veteran with a 26-year Army career; and his mother was one of the first female Army Drill Sergeants. Four uncles also saw service. A 16-year veteran, Fike has served combat deployments to Iran and Afghanistan and earned his own Purple Heart. In 2012, he was inspired to found Purple Hearts Reunited, a 501(c)(3) organization, and since then he and his dedicated volunteers have reunited more than 100 metals with their recipients or their families. Search is underway for 200 more lost owners.

Medals turn up in flea markets, pawnshops, antique stores, and estate sales. They are listed on Craigslist and eBay, found in attics, storage units and even buried in the ground. They are discovered in abandoned houses, old furniture and vehicles. They are turned in by the concerned public.

The medals are returned in a dignified format, mounted and framed with individualized designs. Purple Hearts Reunited arranges a Return Ceremony attended by the family and sometimes the public. Those involved are invited to speak about their loved ones, telling their story, relating favorite memories. The event closes with a meaningful memorial ceremony honoring the veteran’s sacrifice. At Bateman’s ceremony, John Trinca was gratified to meet Bateman’s son, who was 10 months old when his father died. Trinca said, “This has been an emotional journey that has taken me 69 years, two months, and 13 hours. May he rest in peace.”

If research, which can take more than a year, fails to find family, the medal is placed where it will be honored, such as in a military museum. PHR foundation will attempt to return any kind of medal and other military gear, such as uniforms, jewelry or documents. For more stories of medals which found a home, to report a lost or found medal, or to donate to the organization, contact their web site, www.purpleheartsreunited.org. It includes a Lost Hearts database and displays information about the recipient of every medal that has been returned.  Read More 
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