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Couple tracks down WWII vet's family to return keepsakes

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A Florida couple who discovered a World War II veteran's documents and keepsakes at an antique shop reunited the items with the man's family.

Lloyd and Melissa Hyatt said they were at an antique shop in Wildwood when they came across a boxed flag that Lloyd recognized from his time in the Navy as a U.S. military commemorative burial flag.

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The couple investigated the item and found the box contained numerous items and documents belonging to a World War II veteran named Edwin Smith.

"The interesting thing about this flag is it had the guy's ID card and it actually had some other memorabilia. And I just felt that it didn't belong in there and we should make an attempt to get it back to the family if at all possible," Lloyd Hyatt told WJXT-TV.

The couple paid $59.95 for the flag and its accompanying items, including military ID cards, discharge papers, paperwork for Smith's burial and a letter from Harry Truman thanking Smith for his service.

"He had a wife he had left behind, two sons and some grandchildren. It talked about how highly he was respected in the community, you know, and was going to be missed. So I started with that, using some search engines with the family members," Melissa Hyatt said.

Melissa Hyatt did some research online and was able to reach out to some family members on Facebook before finally connecting with Smith's son.

"He said what they decided to do was that each family member was going to have Eddy with them for two weeks and then it was going to go on to the next family member. And that the final place was going to be with his son. I get chills over that," Melissa Hyatt said.

The couple shipped the box to Massachusetts to be with Smith's family. The couple said they were happy with the outcome.

"My biggest fear was that we were going to find a family that didn't care or they were indifferent to it. And we were so glad that didn't happen," Lloyd Hyatt said. "And so we're put in places in life where you just know what's the right thing to do and this is one of them."

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