American servicemen in Italy during WWII courtesy www.dailymail.co.uk.
Twelve years ago, a St. Louis, Missouri woman name Donna Gregory was helping her husband's grandparents clean out their Arnold, Missouri home when they came upon a mysterious box. Dusting it off, they found the following items inside: a letter, a high school diploma, a draft card, and a Purple Heart. There was also a message from the U.S. War Department announcing the death of the soldier who had written the letter.
Donna Gregory courtesy www.dailymail.co.uk.
Donna embarked on a years-long search to find the relatives of the fallen soldier. Thanks to the Internet, she was finally able to track down Mrs. Peggy Eddington-Smith, a Walmart employee in Nevada who was stunned to hear about the momentos from her father.
Donna took a road trip from St. Louis to Nevada this past September accompanied by members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group who attends memorials for fallen soldiers. In Nevada, a World War II veteran presented Mrs. Eddington-Smith with her father's purple heart, tears visibly falling down the woman's cheeks as she thought of the father she never knew.
Peggy was able to read the letter from her father which told her that he loved her and that she should treat her mother right. Only a few months after penning the letter in 1944, John Eddington died in Italy. Peggy once asked her mother why she never remarried and she said it was because she had found the perfect man in Peggy's father. She passed away in 1997.
Helen & John Eddington on their wedding day courtesy www.dailymail.co.uk.
Peggy tucked away her box of precious momentos, a lasting testament to her father, a war hero. And Donna headed back over the mountains to her home in St. Louis, her mission accomplished. Thank you, Mr. Eddington, for your sacrifice!