Woman gets father's WWII army medals after decades

Sept. 22, 2013 at 2:36 PM
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DAYTON, Nev., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- A Missouri woman finally returned a Purple Heart and a special letter to the daughter of a fallen World War II soldier after a 14-year search.

While helping her ex-husband clean out his grandparents house 14 years ago, Donna Gregory of St. Louis found a box that contained a Purple Heart for Pfc. John Eddington of Missouri, who died in Italy in 1944, and a letter he had written to his daughter who was born shortly before he went overseas, KTVN-TV, Reno, Nev., reported.

"I believe that her father loved her so much," Gregory said. "She deserved to know that, and I never knew whether she was the one who had this stuff, or if she had ever seen this stuff."

Gregory then spent the next 14 years trying to track down Eddington's daughter and had been unsuccessful until, with the help of a friend, she found Peggy Eddington-Smith, Pfc. Eddington's daughter who now lives in Nevada, on Facebook a few months ago.

Gregory then decided to travel Nevada to give Eddington-Smith the items in person.

On Saturday, a formal ceremony was held inside a school in Dayton, Nev., to present Eddington-Smith with the Purple Heart her father had earned. She was also given several other, including her father's dog tags, his Bronze Star medal and a Gold Star flag honoring his military service.

"I did not know he was honored so much," Eddington-Smith said. "I knew about the Purple Heart, but I thought it was thrown away. But, the other ones, I didn't have any pictures of him in his uniform or anything."

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