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That was MIA to Wife here for years.

Remember 'freedom fries', remember all the bashing of the French in that 'old Europe' not to many years back.

Well you might want to catch these two reports on one WWII pilot and his wifes years of searching to find out what happened to him and where he was buried.

I'm posting here more about the first report, which I've placed second below, and how representative actually represent those in their districts, but the top story, reported tonight, should bring a tear to the eyes, I'm sure.

Normandy still honors American WWII pilot's sacrifice
June 6, 2012 - On this anniversary of D-day, we continue the story of one of the American soldiers who fought to liberate France from the Nazis, 1st Lt. Billie Harris. On Tuesday, the "CBS Evening News" reported on how it took Harris' widow six decades of battling bureaucracy to learn his fate.

But it turns out his death was just the beginning of an amazing tale.

It's now been 67 years since the liberation of France, but at Wednesday's D-Day ceremony in Normandy there was one woman who's still in mourning. In fact, until recently, Peggy Harris of Vernon, Texas, didn't even know her husband Billie was buried here. And certainly didn't know the story of what he means to Les Ventes, France.

Billie was a fighter pilot, shot down and killed in July of 1944 over Nazi-occupied northern France. But because of a series of snafus, miscues and miscommunications, that information never got to his wife. As far as she knew, Bill was just missing.

She waited, she said, "All of my life."


A hero in death, at first they buried Billie in their local cemetery and covered his grave with flowers -- knee deep. Even after his body was moved to the American cemetery at Normandy, the town continued to take flowers to his grave, assuming he had no living relatives to do so.  read more>>>

Another article at the CBS site brings us another report and video about this widows long search and especially the seemingly total lack of help from her elected respresentative who apparently he and his staff were stonewalling her while doing absolutely nothing to help in her requests seeking information.

For WWII soldier's widow, a 60-year mystery finally solved
5 June 2012 - Peggy was very frustrated. She waited. Months turned into years -- "and still no answer." Years turned to decades. So she wrote her congressman.

Wrote repeatedly, in fact, asking for any information about the fate of her husband. The last letter, in 2005, was directed to Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, who also happens to be vice-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

In his reply, Thornberry said Billie was "still listed as 'missing in action' in the National Archives."

Billie's cousin, Alton Harvey, grew up with this mystery.

"Didn't feel it was right that he just went off to war and didn't come back - end of story," Alton said. "You need to know what happened to him."

So a few years ago, he decided to try and get to the bottom of it for Peggy. He started by requesting Billie's military records.

And that's all it took.


So why then, as late as 2005, was Peggy's congressman still telling her that her husband was missing in action? Turns out, there are no records of Rep. Thornberry ever even checking with the National Archives. And if he had, as CBS News did, he would have seen it says right there - KIA: killed in action.

Thornberry didn't want to talk to us. And for her part, Peggy harbors no grudge.

"You have to learn to be forgiving," she said.

She's just glad to finally have an answer.

So much for your government representatives, on our payrolls as well as their staffs, working for you the people. And back in '05 many claiming all this patriotism as they were sending soldiers into two more wars and rubber stamping those costs off the books to boot. I guess though if hands were greased with large campaign contributions the short time of researching would have been quickly done!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 05:50:20 PM PDT

  •  That Is Out Of Control (8+ / 0-)

    Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

    They named a darn street for him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is why CBS Sunday Morning is my favorite show on TV.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:05:24 PM PDT

  •  My dad went on shore at Normandy on June 8, 1944 (8+ / 0-)

    and served as a combat medic with Patton's Third Army until VE + 90 days. The fact that he ended the war alive, and wasn't even wounded, was in his view a miracle. He cared for hundreds of Americans and Germans wounded in battle.  Like most of the WWII vets he was very stoic about the War and would never discuss it, accept for an occasional story about a friend and something funny or enjoyable that happened. Those were usually about finding food or a bottle of wine.  

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:36:32 PM PDT

    •  VClib, my dad was there at the same time (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, jimstaro, bfitzinAR

      and was the same way.  He never talked about it except for a few comments.  He, too, worked with the combat medics.  3rd army, second division, I wonder if you know your dad's nickname during those days.  I have a photo album of my dad's with all of his buddies.  Some full names, some nicknames.  Sometimes it is a small world.  You can kosmail me, if you don't want to put info in the thread.

      I've wanted to find some of the families of dad's WWII pals.

      Only if you're willing, of course.

      Can you call yourself a real liberal if you aren't reading driftglass?

      by CJB on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:07:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thornberry is a typical Republican... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimstaro, IndieGuy, bfitzinAR

    ...constituent service is terrible. Thornberry could have simply gone through the National Archives to help Peggy Harris. I feel sorry for Democrats in Vernon, Texas that have to put up with being "misrepresented" by Thornberry.

    Other than that, a very heartwarming story.

    "Tonight does not mark the end of our vigilance, but the beginning" -Lori Compas, 6/5/2012

    by DownstateDemocrat on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:39:30 PM PDT

    •  He and His Staff (3+ / 0-)

      By the accounts here are just plain disgusting and what makes it worse is the years they were seeking information, information Thornberry could have easily and quickly got, but didn't!!!!!!!!!

      Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

      by jimstaro on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:49:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've recently been told by (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the archives people in St. Louis that the section my daddy's records would have been in was destroyed by a fire in 1970 (or '71 - I don't have the letter with me).  Enlistment records confirm family history that he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in January 1942 but from there I got nothin' - Momma told me he served in the South Pacific in 1942 and tested for pilot training, he spent 1943 stateside in OCS (proud of being in the last 6-month program and not a "90-day Wonder") and then pilot training, served 1944 flying at first co-pilot then pilot of a B-17 in the European theater and got the Distinguished Flying Cross.  I vaguely remember seeing his discharge certificate when I was a little kid (can't have been more than 9 since Daddy left us when I was 9) and he left the service in January 1945 as a 1st Lt.  His name was Ronald E. Boyd and he came from Oklahoma.  If any of you folks have sources outside the official archives in St. Louis (or by some really weird chance know somebody who knew Daddy personally), I'd appreciate the tip.  Stories like the one above hand me back some hope that someday I'll have records or at least confirmed information about my father to give to my sons and grandsons (the 5th of whom is due any minute now).  Thanks, bf

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