Facebook can divide people (What?! She unfriended me?), or bring people together. In this story, Facebook united two eras, two continents, two men and an item lost decades ago.
During WWII, Bennie Howard lost his dog tags on a beach in Italy. 73 years later, a man with a metal detector found the tags and used Facebook to connect with Mr. Howard.
In 1943, Bennie Howard, Jr., was a soldier in the U.S. Army fighting in World War II. He was 19 years old.
Fast forward to 2015. Jury Galli, from Pisa, visited that same beach to scan the sands with a metal detector.
When he uncovered the dog tag, he read the name and North Carolina. He did a little research and found Bennie Howard, Jr., was alive and living in New Bern, NC.
Galli contacted the Town of Wendell on Facebook. He wrote, “I found this dog tag. It says Wendell, North Carolina on it. I started researching and found out Mr. Howard was still alive and living in New Bern.”
Galli did not think mailing them would be enough. He bought roundtrip tickets and flew across the ocean to hand deliver them to Howard.
Asked about getting back his dog tag, Howard said, “I was surprised because after the time span, it’s almost something impossible.”
The Town of Wendell honored Galli and Howard during their Independence Day parade which brought out citizens of all ages.
Galli does not speak much English. But he managed to say, “It’s a beautiful moment for me. I remember all my life this moment.”
Howard, wearing a patriotic red vest with American and Italian lapel flag pins, waxed poetic, saying that getting back the small piece of metal gives this year’s holiday even bigger meaning.[Featured Image Credit: abc11.com]