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WWII Veteran Reunited with Dog Tag Over 70 Years After It Went Missing

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We come across lost things all the time in our day-to-day lives. How far would you go to return a lost item to a stranger?

Spare change spilled on the ground. A broken piece of jewelry abandoned and forgotten. Often it can be impossible to find the original owner.

But for a certain dog tag, the search for its owner has been years in the making. Roland F. Gaines is a 97-year-old World War II veteran living in Norfolk, Virgina.

Though Gaines is long past his war story telling days, there’s one thing that has been able to spark his memory, even when his son says his dad doesn’t recall much at all.

“At this particular point he doesn’t realize a lot of things,” Frankie Gaines shared in an interview.

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The U.S. Army veteran had been stationed in Italy at the young age of 19. It was then that his dog tag went missing, but it was never forgotten.

“I drove the biggest kind of trucks,” Gaines said. His children explained how their dad used to talk about his time in the war, and how his dog tag was lost.

“We didn’t think we’d ever see these dog tags,” Gaines’ daughter, Eva Hendricks, said. “We’d ask about them and he’d say, ‘I lost them in Italy.'”


So how did the tag end up back in the right hands? One family and one letter connects the missing pieces of this puzzle.

A letter from Italy dated April 26, 2018 found its way into Hendricks’ hands. Inside the sender explained, “After many years of searching, I have found you.”

It turns out the tag was discovered buried in an Italian family’s garden over 3 decades ago. Ever since, they’d attempted to find the owner.

But, countries apart, the search proved difficult. That is, until technology worked to their advantage, and the finders, and their New York relatives, were able to track down Mr. Gaines and his family.

While the reunion may seem small to anyone outside looking in, the family is thankful for this small piece of recognition provided to their father.

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“Just to see him hold onto those dog tags and reflect on the things that he does remember,” Frankie Gaines explained. “It was really exciting to me. It means a lot.”

It’s a reunion generations in the making. The family is truly grateful for this moment, as well as for the people who made it possible for their father to hold his tag in his hands once more.

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Sarah Carri is an avid reader and social media guru with a passion for truth and life. Her writing has previously been published in print and online by Focus on the Family and other well known media outlets. Her experience in ministry and Disney entertainment gives her a unique perspective on such topics.
Sarah Carri is an avid reader and social media guru with a passion for truth and life. Her writing has previously been published in print and online by Focus on the Family and other well known media outlets. Her experience in ministry and Disney entertainment gives her a unique perspective on such topics.

Sarah's experience as a successful working stay-at-home mom and business owner has given her the chance to write and research often. She stays up to date on the latest in entertainment and offers her views on celebrity stories based on her wide knowledge of the industry. Her success as a former preschool teacher and licensed daycare provider lend to her know-how on topics relating to parenting and childhood education.

Her thoughts on faith and family issues stem from home life and ministry work. Sarah takes time to attend workshops and classes annually that help her to improve and hone her writing craft. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature program and her writing has been acclaimed by ACFW and ECPA.
Education
Institute of Children's Literature, Art Institute of Phoenix (Advertising), University of California Irvine (Theater), Snow College (Early Childhood Education)
Location
Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith




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